Andal Jr.’s lawyer quits
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Maguindanao massacre trial is facing yet again another delay in the proceedings after defense lawyer Salvador Panelo withdrew as legal counsel for primary suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr.

Panelo filed his withdrawal of appearance during the hearing at a makeshift court inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on Thursday, court records showed.

Panelo reportedly withdrew as counsel upon the request of Ampatuan, who cited “personal reasons” when asked for his reason of terminating his ties with his lawyer.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes has yet to rule on Panelo’s withdrawal, which happened days before the deadline set by the court for the lawyer to wrap up his presentation of evidence in support of the bail petition of Ampatuan.

Last month, Panelo summoned Ampatuan to the witness stand to testify on his whereabouts during the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre.

The suspect claimed that he was at the municipal hall of Datu Unsay and not at the massacre site where 58 people, including 32 media practitioners, were murdered.

Ampatuan was set to be recalled to the witness stand for his re-direct examination, but his presentation was repeatedly delayed upon the request of Panelo, who supposedly fell ill during some of the scheduled proceedings.

The suspect was also confined overnight at the National Kidney Transplant Institute in Quezon City as he had to undergo medical examination due to a liver illness.

More time

During Thursday’s hearing, Ampatuan asked the court to give him time to look for a new lawyer who would proceed with presentation of evidence on his bail plea.

This development could further delay the almost six-year trial as the judge would not be able to rule on the bail petition of the suspect until after the new lawyer files his or her formal offer of evidence.

This was not the first time that Ampatuan lost his lawyer in the multiple murder case.

Last year, the Fortun Narvasa & Salazar law firm withdrew as counsel for the Ampatuans for still unknown reasons.

Panelo later took over, saying he was doing it for free. He later stated that the Ampatuans were merely framed in the incident.

 

AMPATUAN AMPATUANS ANDAL AMPATUAN JR. CAMP BAGONG DIWA DATU UNSAY DURING THURSDAY FORTUN NARVASA JUDGE JOCELYN SOLIS-REYES NATIONAL KIDNEY TRANSPLANT INSTITUTE PANELO QUEZON CITY
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