In the resolution of SC’s First Division dated July 22, it announced the denial of former Muslim regional governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan’s petition for lack of merit.
SC affirms CA denial of Ampatuan bail plea
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the decision of the lower courts denying the bail petition of former Muslim regional governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan, among the accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

In the resolution of SC’s First Division dated July 22, it announced the denial of Ampatuan’s petition for lack of merit.

The SC said Ampatuan failed to “sufficiently show any reversible error” in the decisions of the Quezon City regional trial court (RTC) and the Court of Appeals denying him bail.

The SC said it is not a trier of facts and only questions of law should be brought before the high court. 

“The bail hearing is not meant to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. Rather, what is involved is the resolution of the preliminary issue of the propriety of the exercise of the right to bail at this stage in the proceedings, whether or not the evidence of his guilt is strong,” the SC said.

In his petition before the SC, Ampatuan presented evidence but the magistrates did not buy his arguments.

“By deciding for or against his bail application on the basis of factual issues raised by petitioner, the Court will be prematurely deciding the case beyond the parameters of judicial review at this stage of the proceedings, and preempt the parties from presenting their respective evidence during trial,” the SC said.

The high court explained it must defer making a conclusion on the case “since the participation of conspirators, principals, accomplices, and accessories are matters adjudged as a whole at the conclusion of the evidence-in-chief.”

Recently, Quezon City RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes issued a statement saying the 58 counts of murder filed against Ampatuan and over 100 other accused have been submitted for decision on Aug. 22.

Ampatuan, the former governor of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was charged with 58 counts of murder in the killing of 58 people, 32 of them journalists.

It was alleged that Ampatuan agreed to the plan of killing the family’s political opponents, the Mangudadatus, and he conspired by volunteering firearms and giving advice to those who would implement the plan.

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