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MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed its earlier decision to deny the petition of murder convict and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan to be transferred from the national penitentiary to a hospital.
In a decision dated April 11, but was publicized on Tuesday, April 17, the appellate court’s Special Division of Five denied Ampatuan’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s July 4, 2022, decision. The earlier ruling upheld the decision of Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City Branch 221, which denied Ampatuan’s motion to be transferred from the New Bilibid Prison to a hospital.
In asking the court for his transfer, Ampatuan cited COVID-19 and his vulnerability to the disease because he already suffered stroke on three different occasions. He also claimed he was suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and chronic atrial fibrillation.
But the local court denied Ampatuan’s motion because, according to the RTC, Bilibid has its own facility where Ampatuan could avail himself of the necessary medical treatment. The appellate court upheld the RTC’s decision in a seven-page ruling in 2022.
In siding with the RTC, the CA said the petitioner filed his motion when general community quarantine was in effect, indicating a decrease in COVID-19 cases. The appellate court also noted that the COVID-19 cases had significantly decreased after the vaccines became available.
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In his motion for reconsideration, Ampatuan argued that COVID-19 was not the main ground for his request, but his existing diseases. He noted that his health remained at risk because of his medical conditions. Ampatuan also pleaded for humanitarian reasons.
However, the CA junked Ampatuan’s motion, saying what he filed in the lower court was anchored on the COVID-19 situation back in June 2020.
“To repeat, with the developments in the COVID-19 situation, this Court finds the reliefs prayed for in the petition for certiorari and the instant motion moot,” the CA said.
“All other issues raised by petitioner in the Motion for Reconsideration are but a mere reiteration of the issues presented in his petition for certiorari, and which were already exhaustively discussed in the Decision. Therefore, there exists no cogent reason to reconsider the Decision of this Court,” it added.
Ten years after the Maguindanao Massacre, where 32 journalists were killed, Zaldy, Datu Andal Jr., and Anwar Sr. were convicted by a court for murdering 57 people. Zaldy was sentenced to 40 years inside jail. – Rappler.com