Ailing Ampatuan, interpreter delay trial

Posted at 08/03/11 1:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The trial on the Maguindanao massacre case faced delays today because of an ailing Andal Ampatuan Sr. and an interpreter.

The former Maguindanao governor failed to appear at the hearing because his blood pressure shot up.

In a letter sent to Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes, Senior Inspector Bernardino Camus said a nurse checked on Ampatuan this morning because he was complaining of nausea. Camus is the officer-in-charge of the Quezon City Jail Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Ampatuan was advised to take his medication because his blood pressure was 140/90. One of the primary suspects in the case, however, refused because he was observing Ramadan.

The cross-examination of Esmael Amel Enog, a former member of the Ampatuans’ civilian volunteer organization, also did not push through because interpreter Rolando Abo was absent.

Abo, who is with the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos and acts as translator for the court, told the court sheriff in a text message that he was also feeling under the weather.

The defense twitted the prosecution for failing to ensure that the trial would proceed. They said the prosecution should have been ready with another witness to present.

The prosecution, however, stressed they were not at fault since it was the interpreter who was absent.

The judge decided to suspend the hearing until Thursday. - from a report by Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News