Ampatuan lawyer wants live massacre trial coverage; but his client does not

Share:

Exclusive

By Raïssa Robles

The Ampatuan family lawyer Sigfrid Fortun told me just now that he still favors live media coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial, but his client does not.

I asked Atty. Fortun to clarify what he had told me three and a half months ago, after I read today’s report that the Supreme Court decided to bar live coverage.

The court reversed a previous decision allowing live coverage of the trial because of a motion by the accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. The court said:

“…a camera that broadcasts the proceedings live on television has no place in a criminal trial because of its prejudicial effects on the rights of the accused individuals.”

Last July when I asked Atty Fortun whether he would favor live coverage, he had replied:

I am for it.

In the same interview, I had asked Fortun how long he thought the massacre trial would still take, given its pace and the fact that the defense had yet to present its own witnesses. Fortun told me:

I surmise a period – about an additional two or three years from today.

His “today” referred to July 31, 2012 – the day I had interviewed him for my newspaper South China Morning Post on the “vanishing witnesses”.

The story centered on my interview with Myrna Reblando, wife of one of the slain journalists who had flown to Hong Kong to seek a refugee status. My SCMP story can be accessed here.

In the course of the interview, I asked Atty. Fortun whether or not he favored live coverage of the massacre trial.

He replied,

A, ya…I am for it.

He gave me two reasons why he favors live coverage of the trial.

First, Fortun said the public will see the ineptness of the prosecution:

You’ll discover who’s prepared. We (the defense) will be benefited tremendously by it. Guess who was blocking, opposing it (live coverage) – the prosecution. They have achieved the Peter Principle. [NOTE: This refers to a management theory formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull that “employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.”]

Second, Fortun said the public can judge for itself whether witnesses for the prosecution are lying:

Things disclosed in court are not reported in media. (For instance the) demeanor (of witnesses).

I always have been – (for) labasan na ng baraha, sinong talo. I’m not saying – I’m confident (of winning). The public should know the truth, who is telling a lie on witnesses, and if you see them in court. One of these days, watch the supposed eyewitnesses.

These people who claim to know the truth and who claim to be harassed and stalked and killed. When they are there they are so perky, so madaldal. So perky. Ganoon ba takot? As if they had a shot of adrenaline before they went to court, they are so vivacious. Meron bang takot na ganoon?

Because of what he had said, I asked Atty Fortun to clarify these in the light of the court decision.

So I e-mailed him:

Dear Atty. Fortun,

Earlier you told me in an interview that you were all for live media coverage of the Maguindanao trial.

May I know why you’ve changed your mind on the matter?

thanks,

Fortun e-mailed back:

What was stated in a pleading filed before your interview asking for reconsideration of the SC’s ruling was my client’s position.  He is averse to it.  That position is also consistent with case law which was just parroted.

I asked him further:

Just to clarify -

When I asked you what you thought of a live media coverage, you were for it – as the Ampatuan lawyer.

But one of your clients was not for it.

Would that be a correct interpretation of what you said?

Thanks,

He replied:

That’s correct.

I forgot to ask him something so I e-mailed him again -

Would you try convincing your client to change his mind on the matter?

Or you would just leave it at that?

Thanks,

Fortun replied:

I had tried that tact before the motion was filed as I knew transparency will do them more good than harm, but he demurred as public condemnation of his family had escalated over the months before the motion was filed and he saw no justification in fanning it any further by agreeing to live coverage which he felt will only fortify the “lynch mob” mentality that had already been created by lop-sided press reports.

In closing this piece, I would just like to make a final observation.

Why the media is an interested party in this trial

The massacre trial is not like any other trial we’ve had under our courts. There are over a hundred suspects. Even families of the victims are at risk and under pressure.

Aside from the families of the victims, the media is also a victim here.

The massacre may have become a morbid wish expressed by people who who have a quarrel with the media.

Last August when Jesse Robredo’s plane crashed, an architect named Neill Villanueva posted on Facebook that he wished it was President Aquino who was in that plane so that Vice-President Jejomar Binay would now be the president.

Like many others, I was appalled by Villanueva’s comments. I therefore suggested on Facebook that those who did not like what Villanueva said could show their displeasure by not buying the condos he was developing.

Soon afterward, Villanueva’s sister, Maria Cynthia Villanueva Pattalitan, posted this message on my Facebook Fan Page wall, wishing I had died in the Maguindanao massacre, too:

Manila is quite far from Maguindanao but it seems the same mindset knows no distance nor boundaries.

45 Responses to “Ampatuan lawyer wants live massacre trial coverage; but his client does not”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. 13
    DaBees says:

    Someone has to tell Mr. Fortun that DaBees have already convicted the Amptatuan guilty as hell. If he get him off, I am a bad bad Bees and my sting he couldnt handle. tsk tsk

  2. 12
    aryes says:

    i watch tv always but i have not seen a live telecast of the trial..even news programs show only brief moments, so what’s new here…

    • 12.1
      raissa says:

      You were supposed to, and the SC had agreed to it, but the go-signal to start actually televising was never given. And now it’s been barred altogether.

  3. 11
    docbebot says:

    Hope Raissa can also look at Judge Solis-Reyes. How she’s faring compared to the Sopranos of the Philippines.

  4. 10
    Cha says:

    The Incorrigible Atty Sigfrid Fortun
    (from mr. cheap justice’s blog, 24 Nov 2010)

    Sigfrid Fortun shown photos of the victims. So what? My clients are innocent…and moneyed.

    Lawyer to the stars and rich and famous, Atty. Sigfrid Fortun let go a mouthful in his recent Philippine Inquirer interview. While he was interviewed at his posh Manila residence, he beamed with pride in representing the Ampatuan clan despite the fact that majority of Filipinos believe that they have murdered an entire convoy of civilians and journalists about a year ago.

    To summarize his latest publicity stunt, Atty. Fortun justified the rationale for his legal services to the Ampatuans as an inevitable consequence of taking his lawyer’s oath seriously.  He declared that even those who are considered villains deserve all the privilege of innocence until proven guilty.

    No lawyer will argue against Atty Fortun’s position.  In fact they will agree that criminal litigation does not give them the privilege of foretelling their client’s fate. They are duty-bound to render the best defense regardless of their personal beliefs or convictions.

    His intensity to uphold the right of innocence makes Atty. Fortun an admirable criminal litigator. What will make this more impressive is if he also have indigent clients aside the moneyed class he usually represents. So the 64 million pesos question goes: Does Atty. Fortun represent actually have the same fire for indigent clients?  If affirmative, how come the Philippine media has  not  gotten hold of it.

    Brothers in the profession doubt that Atty Fortun is using this “defender of the presumed innocent of defender” image to justify his penchant to be controversial and become filthy rich. These ends being inter-related and mutuallybenefitial. A controversial case usually involves rich clients who can very well foot the bills and fatten lawyer’s pockets.  At the same time, a lawyer who is often involved with reality TV-type of cases becomes popular if not sought after.

    If only Atty. Fortun comes out in the media defending a lowly pedicab driver or a daily wage earner, his declarations of defending the innocent regardless of his personal views would be formidable.

    • 10.1
    • 10.2
      pelang says:

      He promised to defend the Ampatuan, and defend them he will. His life is at stake if he doesn’t.

      • 10.2.1
        rallie florencio says:

        And once he win. he will be handsomely rewarded.
        The only thing I am confused is how did he know that Prosecution is not prepared to request SC to deny live coverage?
        Or the truth about SC is protecting the faces of the witnesses and prosecutors for possible move of the Ampatuans killing machines?
        In this case which is always orchestrated to be delayed technically is a brilliant ploy of lawyers who really is not for justice sake but merely for showing who can manipulate and circumvent the law.

    • 10.3
      jorge bernas says:

      @ cha,

      Huwag ka nang umasa na gagawa nang libreng legal service yang si atty. fortun dahil matindi rin pangangailangan niyan. saka wala nang pro bono ngayon dahil kahit nga PAO lawyer ngayon himihingi kahit konting panggasolina lang ba at kaunting allowance at pagkain….

    • 10.4
      jjvillamor says:

      Hmmm.. The guilty is more willing(and more desperate) to pay mucho dineros to a witty lawyer. Atty Fortun believes he is better than the lawyers on the other camp and TV publicity will be a great opportunity to tryly shine.

    • 10.5
      REY NATHANIEL IFURUNG says:

      Hi Cha:

      You will appreciate a true lawyer’s work when you or any of the member of your family get criminally charged or even being a defendant in a simple civil case. You will soon thank the bill of rights and the constitution. Trust me.

      • 10.5.1
        yeheywater says:

        Enrile, Miriam, and Joker can intrerpret any single one of the provisions of the Constitutution in any manner they want (convertible), and still, the justice system will buy it. The Bill of Rights on the other hand is applicable only to those who can avail it.

    • 10.6
      duquemarino says:

      @Cha

      He is a mercenary.

  5. 9
    jcc says:

    Now, people can understand me when I have not engaged anyone who were against the passage of Cybercrime Law and were raising licentious comments against it. Personally, I want some decency in public debate, and I was hoping that Congress passed a law policing ‘free speech,’ that is in accord with the jurisprudential guideline that the law must be viewpoint neutral, must not restrict free speech more than necesssary, it must not be overbroad, vague and does not leave the determination of what constitutes cyber libel in the discretion of the prosecuting officer or the department of justice. In other words, a well-defined parameter on what constitutes cyber libel must be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest of maintaining peace and order in a society free from ‘malicious gossip or ‘hateful speech’. But the law was railroaded in Congress, reportedy at the behest of Sotto who was rearing to get back at netcitizens who were clawing him left and right for his intellectual pilfering. The result was that the law went overboard, and it is likely that it will be declared unconstitutional for failure to observe the guidelines on free speech.

    Now this irate lady, Maria Cynthia Villanueva Pattalitan, think that she is free to malign anyone and would probably in total agreement with Ms. Raissa in her position that the Cyber Libel Law must be voided.

    But her language, was most foul and full of malice. She has committed libel even without the cyber libel law, the Revised Penal Code on libel being in full force and effect. You should file libel against this misguided internet user and let her be prosecuted under the Revised Penal Code!

  6. 8
    jcc says:

    tsk, tsk, tsk…. if the witnesses are unreliable and untrustworthy,i wonder why they started disappearing, and some were even brutally murered.

    anyways, defense lawyer are supposed to lawyer for the guilty… and they would make every appearance that their clients were the epitome fo good conduct, exemplary behaviour, model of the community who were simply hauled before the court for vengeance and for the most despicable motives, political vendetta..

    after all, fortun was the lawyer of joseph estrada who up to now is singing the same old tune that he did not profit from jueteng collection.

  7. 7
    leona says:

    With the unreasonable delay this trial is taking, live coverage is possibly advantageous to the defense of Atty. Fortun’s client. But why does he say that the “demeanor” of prosec witnesses will be judge by TV viewers? Why, is it his stand that TV viewers are the judges and the judge of the court? Does TV camera “speaks” of witnesses’ demeanor? No.

    In a case like this, who is the witness or witnesses for the prosec who is not terribly afraid? Is Atty. Fortun saying he wants prosec witnesses to be courageous to testify, the truth of what they saw? How the poor victims were inhumanly killed, some probably still alive when buried by the backhoe? Courageous, eh! Easy for him as the lawyer to say that!

    Maybe a live coverage is not good also for his client’s interest, as the demeanor of his client will also be seen, that’s the reason why his client does not want it first of all.

    It is just a “ploy to reason like that” that Atty. Fortun wants live coverage even if his client disagrees. Let the court see how his client will give his story on the witness stand. And appear like he had nothing to do with the killing if that’s the “truth” from his side. How it will come out, it will be gauged by the judge.

    Why this case is so slow is so surprising! Like it will end in 10 or more years from now. The SC should not allow this kind of delay. People thought otherwise. I read from the newspapers months and couple of years hence that so many “motions” were filed after the trial dates were scheduled. Motions should have been done and resolved before that, and thereafter NO MORE MOTIONS like that! It is a strategy to delay witnesses for the prosec to testify, or even disappear from the face of the earth. If there is no delay, testimonies on both sides would have been finished a long time ago.

    The trial court is excessively gracious to the defense’s strategy to delay unnecessarily at the sacrifice of justice. How many Maguindanao cases will be handled this way in the future is very disappointing to our justice system.

    Sobra na! Hintuin na! Tapusin na! At desisyon na!

    • 7.1
      macspeed says:

      Here in Saudi Arabia, 4 witnessess are enough for a judge to say, “this man is guilty of murder and shall be hanged”, usually hanged means beheaded. That is why, the crimes here in Saudi Arabia is almost petty crimes like teenagers snatching celpons.

      These killers thought they will be able to evade or escape punishment, they should accept their sins here on earth and hope God or Allah may forgive them on the judgment day. But if theykeep their sins here on earth, for sure they will never be forgiven by God or Allah on the Judgment day. Their souls will be clothed with a brand new skin everytime it is burned, and once they have brand new skin, it will be burned again, and repeated again and again, those are the written punishment in Al Qur-an Al Kareem. You may say that is very vruel of God or Allah, but it is not, punishment belongs to those who dont fear God or Allah at all. Like killing people?, Those killers dont fear God, they will be burned including the lawyers who are liars and writers who are liars and those people that are not afraid of bottom less pit which is HELL OF FIRE. Say AMEN if you believe and fear God or Allah….

      macspeed

      • 7.1.1
        leona says:

        @macspeed…ang gusto ko PARUSAAN DITO sa lupa at pagdating kay ALLAH parusaan par rin! Walang Double Jeopardy doon! Walang hinto na parusa!

        Life sentence ‘o “Reclusion Perpetua” [for life] sana kasama ang very HARD LABOR like sweating in or with blood working…like building roads, cleaning sewerages and river & creeks from so much garbage, Manila Bay shores, Lakes, cleaning the clogged Pasig River, atbpa, at 15 hours a day with 9 hours sleep!

        That would be the substitute of death penalty which is not imposable per GMA’s Congress!

        In some southern States in USA they call this “road gangs”…prisoners on the roads, etc., hard at work, rain or shine!

        Some form of payment for their crimes. Now, they are feed, sheltered, washed, sleep, and not in HARD LABOR! Like a mother giving birth…given no general anaesthesia! Eh, wala ganito!

    • 7.2
      jorge bernas says:

      @ leona,

      Ang tanong ko ngayon ay BAKIT BUMALIKTAD NA NAMAN DECESSION NANG SUPREME COURT??? PALAGAY KO BAKA NAGKABAYARAN NA NAMAN??? NAPAKAYAMAN KASI NANG MGA AMPATUAN KAYA MAAARING NAGKABAYARAN??? HINDI KO NA NAGUSTUHAN ANG PA IBA IBA NANG DECESSION NANG KORTE SUPREMA PARANG LAGING PUMAPABOR NA NAMAN SA MGA MAY PERA??? TULAD NANG GINAWANG PAGBALIKTAD NANG “PALEA CASE” KONG SAAN DAHIL LANG SA SULAT AY BUMALIKTAD ANG DECESSION….BALANG ARAW TAONGBAYAN NA ANG HAHATOL SA MGA WALANG KUWENTANG TAKBO NANG DECESSION NILANG MGA TAGA SUPREME COURT…???? BILISAN SANA NILA PAGRESULBA NANG MGA KASO DAHIL BAKA MAIINIP ANG TAONGBAYAN NA HUMIHINGI NANG KATARUNGAN SA MGA INAPI AT PINASLANG……..

      • 7.2.1
        leona says:

        @jorge….eh, kung ako ang sasagot dyan, siguro walang laman ang alam ko sa Batas! Kaya, puede ako burobaliktaran ng desisyon!

        Kung pera, hindi ko kaya yan matanggap. May Diyos kasi! Ayaw ko ng KARMA!

        Puede ka sumulat sa SC, pangngalan mo ay si JUAN DE LA CRUZ, ask them why they keep on changing postures on their decisions.

    • 7.3
      jorge bernas says:

      @leona,

      “JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED” dahil sa “PANSARILING PAKINABANG at PANSARILING KASAKIMAN” ….

    • 7.4
      JJ says:

      Bakit nga ba inaabot ng siyam siyam itong kaso na Maguindanao Massacre.
      Di ba dapat binibigyan yan ng priority. Nagtatanong lang po.

      • 7.4.1
        leona says:

        @jj…para mawala lahat ang ebidensiya at mga saksi…! Then, Motion To Dismiss the cases on the ground that prosec failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. GRANTED!

        • 7.4.1.1
          vander anievas says:

          dapat nating maunawaan na ang isang defense lawyer ay binabayaran din para maiabswelto ang kaniyang kliyente, may kasalanan man o wala. hindi naman yung kahusayan lang niya sa trial ang dahilan kung bakit niya naipapanalo ang kaso. may kabahagi rin ang prosec lawyer. kung pabaya ang prosec lawyer o depektibo ang pamamaraan nya, maaari siyang matalo. mapagbibintangan siya na nagbebenta ng kaso.
          dito sa bansa natin ay may kalamangan ang mga may salapi at koneksyon, sa pribado man o saan mang ahensya ng pamahalaan.
          ang higit na nakakalungkot sa hustisya ng ating bansa ay ang pangkaraniwang pananaw ng marami nating kababayan na nabibili dito ang batas.

          • 7.4.1.1.1
            jorge bernas says:

            @ vander,

            Tama ka vander, isama mo na ang mga judges na nagbenta rin nang judgement at ang napakalaking gastos para patuloy ang takbo nang kaso. pero kong ganito nalang lagi ay dapat nang gamitin ang “MATA SA MATA at NGIPIN SA NGIPIN” at MABILIS pa ang resulta… Amen….

          • 7.4.1.1.2
            yeheywater says:

            ang totoo siguro, dahil may bibig ang pera.

  8. 6
    kontrapilo says:

    Would you believe people of the Philippines, the final verdict (hopefully) based on the Furton assessment of the trial , all the victims of the MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE, COMMITTED SUICIDE, the ampatuans are not guilty,, case is dismissed. Accordingly all the victims committed suicide because the were all tired of leaving….that is the assesstment of the lawyers of the ampatuan, headed by atty misFortune.

  9. 5
    manuelbuencamino says:

    Fortun is a formidable trial lawyer so it might really be better if the trial was not aired live and uncut. At the same time the faces of those Ampatuans could negate whatever points Fortun might make during cross.

    Normally I would question the court’s argument that a camera would not have any prejudicial effects on the right of the accused because we don’t have juries here. But then we saw what happened in the Vizconde and the Cebu rape-slay trials, two epal judges who played to the media-fueled lynch mob so maybe the court knows what it is talking about.

  10. 4
    boy valero says:

    this lawyer is clearly an opportunist, he knows he can still charge legal fees in millions on his own timetable and knows how much his clients are worth although he clearly knows its an overwhelming evidence against them, as to the live coverage – cmon raissa you know its a priceless publicity for him, who knows that after this case this lawyer is already a marked man.

    • 4.1
      macspeed says:

      Well, Any lawyer who standby the sinners against more than four witnessess is as guilty as the sinners in the eyes of God or Allah, do you know that in Al Qur-an Al Kareem says, even if the guilty gave all the jewels of the universe to Allah so he may be forgiven so as not be burned in the HELL OF FIRE, Allah or God will say to the sinners, these tons of jewels and gold and money sinners have, will be used as FUEL to burn sinners body repeatedly forever and ever as punishments for sins kept secret and justice was denied to victims. Hah!!! They thought they can escape???? Nayyyy, eieeiii, never, hindi, pag nakalusot ang camel sa butas ng karayon baka sakali makatakas sila sa parusa!!!

  11. 3
    yakyak says:

    Sotto: Constitution protects me.

    Ok, take this scenario.

    A U.S. diplomat rapes a Filipina, and Sotto wants to charge that diplomat.
    The diplomat says he has diplomatic immunity.
    Then Sotto says?

    This guy is a pure idiot of the highest order.
    A total dochebag.

    • 3.1
      chit navarro says:

      so how would you describe the comment of the Senate President on the issue of Sotto’s plagiarism?

      In a RAPPLER article by Ayee Macaraig, part states:

      “JUAN PONCE ENRILE

      SENATE PRESIDENT

      How can they question you when you say anything here. Constitutional law iyon eh. I said that before not because of any arrogance of power. Those people who do not understand it, they’re ignorant of Constitutional law.”

      The only way we can undo this kind of mentality in the Senate is to ACTIVELY CAMPAIGN for younger generation, more learned and less corrupt, more dedicated and committed to SERVE than TO BE SERVED & BE ENRICHED in this coming election….

      Say Bam Aquino, Rissa Hontiveros, TG Guingona, …

      And let us actively campaign AGAINST the namesakes/families of those currently in Congress….. No matter if they say again and again they have an independent mindset…

      • 3.1.1
        jjvillamor says:

        JPE is correct about the constitutional law. No one, no law, can compel an incumbent senator to apologies for remarks made on the floor.

        However, plagiarism is also about delicadeza ang guess who does not have it.

  12. 2
    springwoodman says:

    The massacre occurred on November 23, 2009. If the verdict is handed 3 years from July this year – on July 31, 2015 – it will have taken 5 years, 8 months and 8 days for justice to be served. That’s assuming a guilty verdict.

    And how many more agonizing years will appeals consume? In the meantime, how have the families of the victims survived? And how is it that at least one family member has had to seek refuge in a foreign country?

    Fifty-nine people – 32 journalists – died in the original massacre. Subsequently two witnesses have been murdered and another committed suicide. Mangudadatu survived a car bomb attack in which two were killed as collateral damage.

    Total casualties to date: 64… and counting.

    And yet, and yet, politicians and columnists – and voters – continue to support political dynasties.

    Cry, the beloved country.

    • 2.1
      Joe America says:

      Indeed, one cultural distinction between America and the Philippines is the notion, in America, that speed is important to fairness, lest memories turn cloudy and witnesses die or otherwise get lost. Plus you may have an innocent man sitting in prison while the clock ticks away on his life.

      I figure there must be advantages to slow pacing of justice in the Philippines that I cannot for the life of me figure out. Or else there is gross incompetence in the Justice/Police departments, lawyers, and/or judges. It is indeed enough to make a man with a conscience cry.

      But I see little crying in the law enforcement, legal or judicial professions.

  13. 1
    peregrino natividad says:

    Persons with demented minds would like to put into words their perverted thoughts. Let them do so cause it is indicative of such person with a despicable character belonging to a lower specie of animals inhabiting this planet.

    • 1.1
      vander anievas says:

      “live coverage, ya, i am for it. ”
      it’s a publicity stunt. sigrid not born yesterday. what it will serve them if its on screen media? 58 people killed in their turf. witnesses are missing one by one. after 2 or 3 yrs more, they will be successful in evading the charges lodged for those perished…

  14. aryes says:

    i watch tv always but i have not seen a live telecast of the trial..even news programs show only brief moments, so what’s new here…

    • raissa says:

      You were supposed to, and the SC had agreed to it, but the go-signal to start actually televising was never given. And now it’s been barred altogether.

  15. docbebot says:

    Hope Raissa can also look at Judge Solis-Reyes. How she’s faring compared to the Sopranos of the Philippines.

  16. Cha says:

    The Incorrigible Atty Sigfrid Fortun
    (from mr. cheap justice’s blog, 24 Nov 2010)

    Sigfrid Fortun shown photos of the victims. So what? My clients are innocent…and moneyed.

    Lawyer to the stars and rich and famous, Atty. Sigfrid Fortun let go a mouthful in his recent Philippine Inquirer interview. While he was interviewed at his posh Manila residence, he beamed with pride in representing the Ampatuan clan despite the fact that majority of Filipinos believe that they have murdered an entire convoy of civilians and journalists about a year ago.

    To summarize his latest publicity stunt, Atty. Fortun justified the rationale for his legal services to the Ampatuans as an inevitable consequence of taking his lawyer’s oath seriously.  He declared that even those who are considered villains deserve all the privilege of innocence until proven guilty.

    No lawyer will argue against Atty Fortun’s position.  In fact they will agree that criminal litigation does not give them the privilege of foretelling their client’s fate. They are duty-bound to render the best defense regardless of their personal beliefs or convictions.

    His intensity to uphold the right of innocence makes Atty. Fortun an admirable criminal litigator. What will make this more impressive is if he also have indigent clients aside the moneyed class he usually represents. So the 64 million pesos question goes: Does Atty. Fortun represent actually have the same fire for indigent clients?  If affirmative, how come the Philippine media has  not  gotten hold of it.

    Brothers in the profession doubt that Atty Fortun is using this “defender of the presumed innocent of defender” image to justify his penchant to be controversial and become filthy rich. These ends being inter-related and mutuallybenefitial. A controversial case usually involves rich clients who can very well foot the bills and fatten lawyer’s pockets.  At the same time, a lawyer who is often involved with reality TV-type of cases becomes popular if not sought after.

    If only Atty. Fortun comes out in the media defending a lowly pedicab driver or a daily wage earner, his declarations of defending the innocent regardless of his personal views would be formidable.

    • pelang says:

      He promised to defend the Ampatuan, and defend them he will. His life is at stake if he doesn’t.

      • rallie florencio says:

        And once he win. he will be handsomely rewarded.
        The only thing I am confused is how did he know that Prosecution is not prepared to request SC to deny live coverage?
        Or the truth about SC is protecting the faces of the witnesses and prosecutors for possible move of the Ampatuans killing machines?
        In this case which is always orchestrated to be delayed technically is a brilliant ploy of lawyers who really is not for justice sake but merely for showing who can manipulate and circumvent the law.

    • jorge bernas says:

      @ cha,

      Huwag ka nang umasa na gagawa nang libreng legal service yang si atty. fortun dahil matindi rin pangangailangan niyan. saka wala nang pro bono ngayon dahil kahit nga PAO lawyer ngayon himihingi kahit konting panggasolina lang ba at kaunting allowance at pagkain….

    • jjvillamor says:

      Hmmm.. The guilty is more willing(and more desperate) to pay mucho dineros to a witty lawyer. Atty Fortun believes he is better than the lawyers on the other camp and TV publicity will be a great opportunity to tryly shine.

    • REY NATHANIEL IFURUNG says:

      Hi Cha:

      You will appreciate a true lawyer’s work when you or any of the member of your family get criminally charged or even being a defendant in a simple civil case. You will soon thank the bill of rights and the constitution. Trust me.

      • yeheywater says:

        Enrile, Miriam, and Joker can intrerpret any single one of the provisions of the Constitutution in any manner they want (convertible), and still, the justice system will buy it. The Bill of Rights on the other hand is applicable only to those who can avail it.

    • duquemarino says:

      @Cha

      He is a mercenary.

  17. jcc says:

    Now, people can understand me when I have not engaged anyone who were against the passage of Cybercrime Law and were raising licentious comments against it. Personally, I want some decency in public debate, and I was hoping that Congress passed a law policing ‘free speech,’ that is in accord with the jurisprudential guideline that the law must be viewpoint neutral, must not restrict free speech more than necesssary, it must not be overbroad, vague and does not leave the determination of what constitutes cyber libel in the discretion of the prosecuting officer or the department of justice. In other words, a well-defined parameter on what constitutes cyber libel must be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest of maintaining peace and order in a society free from ‘malicious gossip or ‘hateful speech’. But the law was railroaded in Congress, reportedy at the behest of Sotto who was rearing to get back at netcitizens who were clawing him left and right for his intellectual pilfering. The result was that the law went overboard, and it is likely that it will be declared unconstitutional for failure to observe the guidelines on free speech.

    Now this irate lady, Maria Cynthia Villanueva Pattalitan, think that she is free to malign anyone and would probably in total agreement with Ms. Raissa in her position that the Cyber Libel Law must be voided.

    But her language, was most foul and full of malice. She has committed libel even without the cyber libel law, the Revised Penal Code on libel being in full force and effect. You should file libel against this misguided internet user and let her be prosecuted under the Revised Penal Code!

  18. jcc says:

    tsk, tsk, tsk…. if the witnesses are unreliable and untrustworthy,i wonder why they started disappearing, and some were even brutally murered.

    anyways, defense lawyer are supposed to lawyer for the guilty… and they would make every appearance that their clients were the epitome fo good conduct, exemplary behaviour, model of the community who were simply hauled before the court for vengeance and for the most despicable motives, political vendetta..

    after all, fortun was the lawyer of joseph estrada who up to now is singing the same old tune that he did not profit from jueteng collection.

  19. leona says:

    With the unreasonable delay this trial is taking, live coverage is possibly advantageous to the defense of Atty. Fortun’s client. But why does he say that the “demeanor” of prosec witnesses will be judge by TV viewers? Why, is it his stand that TV viewers are the judges and the judge of the court? Does TV camera “speaks” of witnesses’ demeanor? No.

    In a case like this, who is the witness or witnesses for the prosec who is not terribly afraid? Is Atty. Fortun saying he wants prosec witnesses to be courageous to testify, the truth of what they saw? How the poor victims were inhumanly killed, some probably still alive when buried by the backhoe? Courageous, eh! Easy for him as the lawyer to say that!

    Maybe a live coverage is not good also for his client’s interest, as the demeanor of his client will also be seen, that’s the reason why his client does not want it first of all.

    It is just a “ploy to reason like that” that Atty. Fortun wants live coverage even if his client disagrees. Let the court see how his client will give his story on the witness stand. And appear like he had nothing to do with the killing if that’s the “truth” from his side. How it will come out, it will be gauged by the judge.

    Why this case is so slow is so surprising! Like it will end in 10 or more years from now. The SC should not allow this kind of delay. People thought otherwise. I read from the newspapers months and couple of years hence that so many “motions” were filed after the trial dates were scheduled. Motions should have been done and resolved before that, and thereafter NO MORE MOTIONS like that! It is a strategy to delay witnesses for the prosec to testify, or even disappear from the face of the earth. If there is no delay, testimonies on both sides would have been finished a long time ago.

    The trial court is excessively gracious to the defense’s strategy to delay unnecessarily at the sacrifice of justice. How many Maguindanao cases will be handled this way in the future is very disappointing to our justice system.

    Sobra na! Hintuin na! Tapusin na! At desisyon na!

    • macspeed says:

      Here in Saudi Arabia, 4 witnessess are enough for a judge to say, “this man is guilty of murder and shall be hanged”, usually hanged means beheaded. That is why, the crimes here in Saudi Arabia is almost petty crimes like teenagers snatching celpons.

      These killers thought they will be able to evade or escape punishment, they should accept their sins here on earth and hope God or Allah may forgive them on the judgment day. But if theykeep their sins here on earth, for sure they will never be forgiven by God or Allah on the Judgment day. Their souls will be clothed with a brand new skin everytime it is burned, and once they have brand new skin, it will be burned again, and repeated again and again, those are the written punishment in Al Qur-an Al Kareem. You may say that is very vruel of God or Allah, but it is not, punishment belongs to those who dont fear God or Allah at all. Like killing people?, Those killers dont fear God, they will be burned including the lawyers who are liars and writers who are liars and those people that are not afraid of bottom less pit which is HELL OF FIRE. Say AMEN if you believe and fear God or Allah….

      macspeed

      • leona says:

        @macspeed…ang gusto ko PARUSAAN DITO sa lupa at pagdating kay ALLAH parusaan par rin! Walang Double Jeopardy doon! Walang hinto na parusa!

        Life sentence ‘o “Reclusion Perpetua” [for life] sana kasama ang very HARD LABOR like sweating in or with blood working…like building roads, cleaning sewerages and river & creeks from so much garbage, Manila Bay shores, Lakes, cleaning the clogged Pasig River, atbpa, at 15 hours a day with 9 hours sleep!

        That would be the substitute of death penalty which is not imposable per GMA’s Congress!

        In some southern States in USA they call this “road gangs”…prisoners on the roads, etc., hard at work, rain or shine!

        Some form of payment for their crimes. Now, they are feed, sheltered, washed, sleep, and not in HARD LABOR! Like a mother giving birth…given no general anaesthesia! Eh, wala ganito!

    • jorge bernas says:

      @ leona,

      Ang tanong ko ngayon ay BAKIT BUMALIKTAD NA NAMAN DECESSION NANG SUPREME COURT??? PALAGAY KO BAKA NAGKABAYARAN NA NAMAN??? NAPAKAYAMAN KASI NANG MGA AMPATUAN KAYA MAAARING NAGKABAYARAN??? HINDI KO NA NAGUSTUHAN ANG PA IBA IBA NANG DECESSION NANG KORTE SUPREMA PARANG LAGING PUMAPABOR NA NAMAN SA MGA MAY PERA??? TULAD NANG GINAWANG PAGBALIKTAD NANG “PALEA CASE” KONG SAAN DAHIL LANG SA SULAT AY BUMALIKTAD ANG DECESSION….BALANG ARAW TAONGBAYAN NA ANG HAHATOL SA MGA WALANG KUWENTANG TAKBO NANG DECESSION NILANG MGA TAGA SUPREME COURT…???? BILISAN SANA NILA PAGRESULBA NANG MGA KASO DAHIL BAKA MAIINIP ANG TAONGBAYAN NA HUMIHINGI NANG KATARUNGAN SA MGA INAPI AT PINASLANG……..

      • leona says:

        @jorge….eh, kung ako ang sasagot dyan, siguro walang laman ang alam ko sa Batas! Kaya, puede ako burobaliktaran ng desisyon!

        Kung pera, hindi ko kaya yan matanggap. May Diyos kasi! Ayaw ko ng KARMA!

        Puede ka sumulat sa SC, pangngalan mo ay si JUAN DE LA CRUZ, ask them why they keep on changing postures on their decisions.

    • jorge bernas says:

      @leona,

      “JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED” dahil sa “PANSARILING PAKINABANG at PANSARILING KASAKIMAN” ….

    • JJ says:

      Bakit nga ba inaabot ng siyam siyam itong kaso na Maguindanao Massacre.
      Di ba dapat binibigyan yan ng priority. Nagtatanong lang po.

      • leona says:

        @jj…para mawala lahat ang ebidensiya at mga saksi…! Then, Motion To Dismiss the cases on the ground that prosec failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. GRANTED!

        • vander anievas says:

          dapat nating maunawaan na ang isang defense lawyer ay binabayaran din para maiabswelto ang kaniyang kliyente, may kasalanan man o wala. hindi naman yung kahusayan lang niya sa trial ang dahilan kung bakit niya naipapanalo ang kaso. may kabahagi rin ang prosec lawyer. kung pabaya ang prosec lawyer o depektibo ang pamamaraan nya, maaari siyang matalo. mapagbibintangan siya na nagbebenta ng kaso.
          dito sa bansa natin ay may kalamangan ang mga may salapi at koneksyon, sa pribado man o saan mang ahensya ng pamahalaan.
          ang higit na nakakalungkot sa hustisya ng ating bansa ay ang pangkaraniwang pananaw ng marami nating kababayan na nabibili dito ang batas.

          • jorge bernas says:

            @ vander,

            Tama ka vander, isama mo na ang mga judges na nagbenta rin nang judgement at ang napakalaking gastos para patuloy ang takbo nang kaso. pero kong ganito nalang lagi ay dapat nang gamitin ang “MATA SA MATA at NGIPIN SA NGIPIN” at MABILIS pa ang resulta… Amen….

          • yeheywater says:

            ang totoo siguro, dahil may bibig ang pera.

  20. kontrapilo says:

    Would you believe people of the Philippines, the final verdict (hopefully) based on the Furton assessment of the trial , all the victims of the MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE, COMMITTED SUICIDE, the ampatuans are not guilty,, case is dismissed. Accordingly all the victims committed suicide because the were all tired of leaving….that is the assesstment of the lawyers of the ampatuan, headed by atty misFortune.

  21. manuelbuencamino says:

    Fortun is a formidable trial lawyer so it might really be better if the trial was not aired live and uncut. At the same time the faces of those Ampatuans could negate whatever points Fortun might make during cross.

    Normally I would question the court’s argument that a camera would not have any prejudicial effects on the right of the accused because we don’t have juries here. But then we saw what happened in the Vizconde and the Cebu rape-slay trials, two epal judges who played to the media-fueled lynch mob so maybe the court knows what it is talking about.

  22. boy valero says:

    this lawyer is clearly an opportunist, he knows he can still charge legal fees in millions on his own timetable and knows how much his clients are worth although he clearly knows its an overwhelming evidence against them, as to the live coverage – cmon raissa you know its a priceless publicity for him, who knows that after this case this lawyer is already a marked man.

    • macspeed says:

      Well, Any lawyer who standby the sinners against more than four witnessess is as guilty as the sinners in the eyes of God or Allah, do you know that in Al Qur-an Al Kareem says, even if the guilty gave all the jewels of the universe to Allah so he may be forgiven so as not be burned in the HELL OF FIRE, Allah or God will say to the sinners, these tons of jewels and gold and money sinners have, will be used as FUEL to burn sinners body repeatedly forever and ever as punishments for sins kept secret and justice was denied to victims. Hah!!! They thought they can escape???? Nayyyy, eieeiii, never, hindi, pag nakalusot ang camel sa butas ng karayon baka sakali makatakas sila sa parusa!!!

  23. yakyak says:

    Sotto: Constitution protects me.

    Ok, take this scenario.

    A U.S. diplomat rapes a Filipina, and Sotto wants to charge that diplomat.
    The diplomat says he has diplomatic immunity.
    Then Sotto says?

    This guy is a pure idiot of the highest order.
    A total dochebag.

    • chit navarro says:

      so how would you describe the comment of the Senate President on the issue of Sotto’s plagiarism?

      In a RAPPLER article by Ayee Macaraig, part states:

      “JUAN PONCE ENRILE

      SENATE PRESIDENT

      How can they question you when you say anything here. Constitutional law iyon eh. I said that before not because of any arrogance of power. Those people who do not understand it, they’re ignorant of Constitutional law.”

      The only way we can undo this kind of mentality in the Senate is to ACTIVELY CAMPAIGN for younger generation, more learned and less corrupt, more dedicated and committed to SERVE than TO BE SERVED & BE ENRICHED in this coming election….

      Say Bam Aquino, Rissa Hontiveros, TG Guingona, …

      And let us actively campaign AGAINST the namesakes/families of those currently in Congress….. No matter if they say again and again they have an independent mindset…

      • jjvillamor says:

        JPE is correct about the constitutional law. No one, no law, can compel an incumbent senator to apologies for remarks made on the floor.

        However, plagiarism is also about delicadeza ang guess who does not have it.

  24. springwoodman says:

    The massacre occurred on November 23, 2009. If the verdict is handed 3 years from July this year – on July 31, 2015 – it will have taken 5 years, 8 months and 8 days for justice to be served. That’s assuming a guilty verdict.

    And how many more agonizing years will appeals consume? In the meantime, how have the families of the victims survived? And how is it that at least one family member has had to seek refuge in a foreign country?

    Fifty-nine people – 32 journalists – died in the original massacre. Subsequently two witnesses have been murdered and another committed suicide. Mangudadatu survived a car bomb attack in which two were killed as collateral damage.

    Total casualties to date: 64… and counting.

    And yet, and yet, politicians and columnists – and voters – continue to support political dynasties.

    Cry, the beloved country.

    • Joe America says:

      Indeed, one cultural distinction between America and the Philippines is the notion, in America, that speed is important to fairness, lest memories turn cloudy and witnesses die or otherwise get lost. Plus you may have an innocent man sitting in prison while the clock ticks away on his life.

      I figure there must be advantages to slow pacing of justice in the Philippines that I cannot for the life of me figure out. Or else there is gross incompetence in the Justice/Police departments, lawyers, and/or judges. It is indeed enough to make a man with a conscience cry.

      But I see little crying in the law enforcement, legal or judicial professions.

  25. peregrino natividad says:

    Persons with demented minds would like to put into words their perverted thoughts. Let them do so cause it is indicative of such person with a despicable character belonging to a lower specie of animals inhabiting this planet.

    • vander anievas says:

      “live coverage, ya, i am for it. ”
      it’s a publicity stunt. sigrid not born yesterday. what it will serve them if its on screen media? 58 people killed in their turf. witnesses are missing one by one. after 2 or 3 yrs more, they will be successful in evading the charges lodged for those perished…

  26. -->

Do share your thoughts:

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>