MANILA, Philippines – Judges of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court assured Chief Justice Reynato Puno yesterday that they were ready to handle the trial of Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. for the Maguindanao massacre.
The judges gave the assurance after Judge Luisito Cortez of the RTC’s Branch 84 expressed fears for his family’s safety and backed out from handling the case.
Lawyer Gleo Guerra, Supreme Court deputy spokesperson, said there were judges in the QC RTC who were willing to handle the case and volunteered to be assigned to it.
Puno declined their offer because he wanted to follow the rule on raffling off cases after the SC allowed Cortez to inhibit himself from the 25 counts of murder filed against Ampatuan.
Fifty-seven people, including 30 journalists, were butchered in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao last Nov. 23.