Lady judge to try Ampatuan case

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A LADY judge, who is reportedly a quiet and very punctual magistrate, would handle the high-profile case of 25 counts of murder of Datu Unsay town Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

The sala of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Branch 221 was picked during yesterday’s re-raffle of the case which was presided by QCRTC Acting Executive Judge Fernando Sagun Jr.

The re-raffle of the case was held after QCRTC Branch 84 Presiding Judge Luisito Cortez immediately inhibited from handling the case for security reasons a few hours after it was raffled to his sala.

The procedure in the conduct during the first raffle of the case was the same mode used during the re-raffle wherein the family, drugs and commercial courts were excluded from the raffle. The regular courts with no judges assigned were also excluded from the raffle.

Those who observed the proceedings were Task Force Ampatuan head Deputy Director Jefferson Soriano, QC Police District Director Elmo San Diego and QC Chief Prosecutor Claro Arellano.

Solis-Reyes is reportedly a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Law and had been the presiding judge of Branch 221 for five years now.

It was also learned that Solis-Reyes became an assistant prosecutor of the QC Prosecutor’s Office and a judge in Olongapo City before she became a QCRTC judge.

A lawyer who ones appeared before the sala of Judge Solis-Reyes disclosed that the judge is a silent type, lenient and a considerate one.

The source added that the lady judge is also relatively quick in disposing pending incidents and punctual.

Asked for her reaction when the case was raffled to her sala, the lady judge refused to talk to the media as well as her staff, saying that she has yet to see and read the records of the case.

Instead, Gen. Soriano spoke in behalf of Judge Reyes, saying that the lady judge was very composed and readily accepted the case.

Soriano, who talked to Reyes for her security detail, disclosed that the judge claimed that she will treat the case as an ordinary one.

Soriano’s task is to formalize a security arrangements with whomever the judge would be handling the case.

However, Soriano said, Judge Reyes told him that she would not be needing any security for that matter, saying that it is only an ordinary case.

“She (Judge Reyes) is very composed, very confident and said she would not want security. She also said that she will do what she will ask to do. She also has no reservations in accepting the case, unlike in the case of Judge Cortez, who immediately has reservations in accepting it. But she said that if she needs a security, then we are ready to provide her. As of now, we will respect her decision,” Soriano said.

Soriano also disclosed that aside from the security arrangement, he discussed with the judge regarding those involved in the case and how many of the accused in the case.

The police official added that the initial venue of the hearing would be in Camp Crame as per order of the Supreme Court.

He, however, said that Philippine National Police would be filing a motion with the High Tribunal for the possible transfer of the venue of the hearing since Camp Crame is an open camp.

Soriano said that they are considering the camps in Bicutan and Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the transfer of venue of the hearing.

The SC, Soriano said, is set to conduct an ocular inspection in Camp Crame where the supposed venue of the hearing is to be conducted.