The online news portal of TV5
A Quezon City court has been asked to reverse its decision that allowed ballistic tests to be conducted on slugs collected from Maguindanao massacre victims that were discovered and submitted nearly two years after the incident took place.
The failure of the police medico-legal officer to turn over the metal fragments for laboratory exams “negate any presumption of regularity,” accused Moaktar Daud said.
In his motion for reconsideration, Daud said that the actions of Senior Inspector Dr. Felino Brunia Jr. were “highly irregular and questionable” as the officer failed to forward the slugs immediately for examination.
He added that the the slugs were kept in his desk for nearly two years at his office in Mindanao and lay forgotten in a wooden desk until last year.
Daud's legal counsels Andres Manuel Jr. and Shirley Tuazon, asked the court to reconsider its March 8 order granting ballistic tests on the slugs in Brunia's custody.
The five-page motion for reconsideration was received Tuesday by the staff of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Regional Trial Court Branch 221.
“His tardiness in submitting the said slugs and fragments negate any presumption of regularity in his performance of official duties. Such procedural lapse prevents the operation of the said presumption in his favor,” the pleading read.
Daud is included in the 196 indicted for the November 23, 2009 murders which left 57 people dead in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province.
On March 8, the court permitted the conduct of the ballistic examinations on slugs which Brunia said were in his drawer from November 2009 until early 2011.
The Philippine National Police's Firearms Identification Division was given a month to complete the examinations to determine the fragments’ caliber and other properties. This developed was after the the court said it found merit in the prosecution's motion, saying there is a presumption of regularity in Brunia's performance of his duties.
The police official only presented the slugs in court last year, saying he thought he had already submitted the fragments for examination after conducting autopsies on the victims’ bodies.
The fragments were from five out of 14 victims’ bodies that Brunia autopsied. The slugs were kept in a desk drawer at his office in Mindanao and were not yet subjected to ballistic tests when Brunia took the witness stand in February 2011.
Daud’s counsels however said they found this claim of the police medico-legal officer to be “incredible" and that his failure to forward the slugs immediately "casts serious doubts" on how the evidence was kept in his custody.
“When challenged by the evidence of a flawed chain of custody, the presumption of regularity in performance of official duties cannot prevail over the presumption of innocence of this accused,” the motion read. It added that the procedural laps “puts into question the chain of custody exercised by Brunia while in possession of the evidence” and that there is a "clear substantial gap" in the chain of custody with the police official's actions. InterAksyon.com