Ampatuans start to appeal guilty massacre verdict

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The convicted members of the Ampatuan clan have started filing their pleadings to appeal their guilty verdicts in the 2009 massacre, with Datu Andal Jr aka Unsay and Zaldy opting to go straight to the Court of Appeals (CA).

In separate Notice of Appeals submitted to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 on Thursday, January 2 and Friday, January 3, respectively, Andal Jr and Zaldy requested Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes to elevate his records to the Court of Appeals.

Andal Jr's brother and nephews, father-and-sons Anwar Sr, Anwar Jr aka Datu Ipi, and Anwar Sajid aka Datu Ulo who were also convicted, appealed before the QC court first.

In their respective Motions for Considerations also submitted to Branch 221 on Thursday, the Anwar Sr, Anwar Jr, and Anwar Sajid argued that the prosecution's main witness, Sukarno Badal, a former vice mayor in Maguindanao and then a political ally of the Ampatuans, was not credible.

Badal said the father and son were present in the meetings to kill the Mangudadatus.

"As to how the witness could have memorized, precisely to the letter, all of the statements made by each and every supposed participant in all of these meetings, is highly doubtful, nay miraculous," Anwar Sr said in his motion.

Anwar Jr also raised a testimony of one of the accused civilian volunteer, Rainer Ebus, who was among the 56 acquitted.

"(Ebus) testified on cross examination that he did not personally see Datu Ipi (Anwar Jr) and Datu Ulo (Anwar Sajid) beat up the victims with long firearms on November 23, 2009," Anwar Jr said.

Unsay and Anwar Sr's brother Zaldy, who was also convicted, has not filed an appeal yet but he filed a motion requesting Branch 221 to grant his transfer to the New Bilibid Prison infirmary.

Zaldy suffered a stroke and was hospitalized at the Makati Medical Center for weeks before the verdict. In his motion, Zaldy said he requires "aggressive rehabilitation" and listed 22 medications.

"He is restrained to respectfully request this Honorable Court that he be allowed to transfer to the NBP infirmary in order to receive the therapy, rehabilitation and meditation prescribed by his doctors, and so as not to unduly put his health in jeopardy," Zaldy said.

The other Ampatuan brother, Datu Sajid Islam, and their cousin Akmad "Tato" Ampatuan, were among those acquitted for reasonable doubt. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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