Why were there no judges in Cotabato city? One was killed, the other two were on hadj

Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen explains why there were no judges in Cotabato City. Branch 15 has been vacant since the judge there was murdered, and there was no one recommended by the Judicial and Bar council to replace him. The other two judges, of branches 13 and 14, were in Saudi Arabia on hadj, with the permission of the Supreme Court.
Acting Secretary Justice Agnes Devanadera simply said she didn’t know about that. Senator Joker Arroyo now speaking. Dilangalen said he had more questions, but he had been told that 52 congressmen had lined up to ask questions.

Dilangalen: related by consanguinity to two contending forces…one of victims wife of nephew, son of my sister. Also the ampatuans. But we must not be clouded with passion and emotions…a day after murder met ampatuan at airport…invited me to join him to see his father…met there sec jess dureza in residence of gov ampatuan…he suggested if mayor datu andal ampatuan jr could be presented to him and the rest is history. Mayor datu andal ampatuan…and then he made a commitment present himself for any investigation. Belie fact he surrendered, he presented himself for investigation. Brought to gensan for inquest…cases of multiple murder filed against him… what is development of case, aside from andal jr have other people been identified and included as accused in case at bar?

Devanadera: this is the status of murder case. Case against unsay ampatuan now pending before the court, information has been filed. Cases against gov andal ampatuan sr and mayor banarin ampatuan…vice mayor…ampatuan…mohammad sangki…and several others denominated as john does, they are under preliminary investigation. Under regular prelim investigation there are two others who had to go through a different process, had to go through inquest and now case against them filed in court. We can see that for datu andal sr it is under the regular prelim investigation.

(aside from andal…) yes because this is the process being required.

Dilangalen: case of rebellion filed against andal sr and several others…

Devanadera: yes.

Dilangalen: before declaration of martial law, did pnp or AFP attempt to arrest gov andal sr…

Deva: sorry but not in position to answer.

Dilangalen: before dec 4 2009 were ampatuan family members…subject of arrest or were arrested?

Versoza: on part of pnp no attempt to arrest other members of ampatuan. What transpired was mayor andal jr gave himself up to nbi…

Dilangalen: we received info…to gen ibrado…certain major cabangbang issued statement to effect they restricted movements of ampatuans not allowed to leave home in order not to contaminate area…before dec 4. Wonder whether this…has full support of AFP because this is case of restriction of liberty, no case at time according to pnp…deprivation of life liberty property without due process of law.

Ibrado: troops were instructed to put up checkpoints and chokepoints around residences of ampatuans but not for purpose of restricting movements.

Dilangalen: reads portion of report….case filed in branch 15 at cotabato city..problem because no sitting judge…because the former judge was murdered in cotabato city.

Deva: I do not know, all I know is branches in cotabato city there are no judges.

Dilangalen: branch 15 vacant since murder of judge. never filled up by office of president. Branch 13 and 14, on travel, in hadj in Saudi Arabia on pilrimage with authority coming from the supreme court…I hope this is clear. It says in whereas clauses of proclamation 1959…also belied by spokesman of supreme court…that there is no such thing as deterioration…in branch 15…received, because of vacancy in sala, designated sultan kudarat regional trial court and as matter of fact issued commitment order.

Deva: special designation your honor. There are no proceedings in all three branches based in cotabato city.

Dilangalen: armed groups in position to resist government troops. Let me recall provision of constitution…this is departure from provisions of 1935 constitution..in cases of rebellion insurrection…pres may declare martial law…may I know your comment on this.

Deva: 1987 constitution that provides from martial complete departure. Various strict impositions…grounds for declaration of martial and suspension of writ of habeas corpus are now on two grounds, rebellion and invasion. No part of constitution is suspended, president likewise required to submit report to congress within 48 hours. All persons detained must be judicially charged for rebellion within 3 days…

Dilangalen: now clear only in cases of actual rebellion or invasion…now. A few days ago justice sec issued a statement that martial law declared because of looming rebellion in maguindanao. When we talk of looming rebellion this must be…heavily armed groups in province had established position to resist gov’t troops…looming rebellion, no actual rebellion yet.

Deva: let me clarify

Dilangalen: this must be related to provision of 1935 not 1986 constitution…imminent danger thereof when public safety requires it. Is madam secretary refers to phrase imminent danger thereof…

Deva: the 1935 constitution is what you and I studied in ateneo as we were classmates every now and then. Explain the context in which looming rebellion is attributed. Answering to question of what happened after massacre, reports that came to my knowledge, made mention that when I first saw reports, saying there was rebellion, thought it was looming rebellion but further reading of most of reports it presented to me there was actual rebellion. It was in response to a question and I had made a clarification of that statement that I was not referring to imminent danger thereof. It was an actual rebellion as reported and as we saw in reports coming from AFP and pnp.
And in the reports it was also shown that the chief executive was being deprived of her powers and prerogatives to implement laws because we saw in evaluation it was armed group that supported local leaders that in effect deprived chief exec from enforcing the laws.

Dilangalen: do not understand, at time of issuance of pd 1959 sec of justice…there was looming rebellion.

Deva: as I said, immediately after massacre there were already reports of something that was shaping and when I started looking at it, my first reaction is is it a looming rebellion or rebellion? It is not my conclusion, it was a question that I posed.

Dilangalen: the facts as you stated, things shaping up, looming rebellion at time pd 1959 was issued. It says here as ground for this supposedly rebellion by ampatuans that local gov’t offices…were closed and ranking local gov’t officials refused to discharge functions which hindered prosecuting team from performing…supposing I present to you order from military commander directing closure of all offices…in maguindanao, will you agree with me not because of ampatuans but because ordered by martial law administrator in area? He ordered closure of provincial capitol. Not general ferrer, col ferrer. As matter of fact even before declaration of martial law…dilg…are the ampatuans under house arrest? How come nobody could visit when there was no case filed against him?

Deva: not in position to comment on issuance.

dilangalen: it says here as proof of rebellion…local civil register of maguindanao refused to accept…reportedly under orders of ampatuan sr…may I inquire what is relation of this one to rebellion? In this particular case..when gov’t official prevents someone from performing function, art 286 of rpc, grave coercion and there are so many cases of grave coercion all over country? All these cases are grounds for declaring martial law we will be declaring martial law all over country. Simple case of grave coercion.

Deva: your honor I am not the speaker. We cannot take one situation in isolation but we have to take all the reports all together. And when it comes to rebellion we have that situation, based on reports that the armed groups were already in effect depriving the chief exec of its powers to enforce the laws. They were already having their own organization, they were already having their own gov’t. it was not anything that was looming, something that was actual.

Dilangalen: art 134…says there must be public uprising…since when did ampatuans commit acts to secede from republic or withdraw allegiance as to constitute rebellion?

Deva: in reports, the ampatuan group together with heavily armed people in area who used to be, who were recruited and organized for protection of people and republic was transformed into private army getting orders only from ampatuan clan. And that is based on reports.

Dilangalen: and these are member of scaas, cafgus..

Deva: and some others who were…private individuals who formed that armed groups…

Dilangalen: already loyal to ampatuans and not republic of phils…

Deva: that’s in the report. That they no longer work for republic but only for ampatuans.

Dilangalen: but these were under supervision of phil army…why is there break in chain of command…I was informed, 52 registered…anyway we have cleared basic issues…

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