Posted by: JWP | 12/15/2009

Judge won’t take on Ampatuan case

POC Wednesday, 16 December 2009 10:30 AM Fidelis Tan

A judge in Quezon City has refused to take on the Maguindanao Massacre case out of fear for the safety of his family and staff.

Judge Luisito Cortez of Branch 86 of the Quezon City regional trial court (QCRTC) was chosen through a raffle to handle the case against Andal Ampatuan Jr., primary suspect of the elections-related killing of 57 people and the subsequent attempt to bury their remains.

Of the 42 QCRTC courts, the raffle excluded those holding handling family-related cases and drug cases, as well as commercial courts. In addition, five of the regular courts are vacant, and three other judges are on leave. Cortez’s name was picked out of the 21 remaining eligible judges.

However, it only took Cortez a few minutes to turn down the case.

“I would like to serve but there are other factors like family. I will explain my side to the highest court,” he said.

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