Filipinos involved in autopsies may testify today

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am

Several Filipino witnesses in the Manila hostage-taking incident may be giving evidence via video link as early as today, the coroner's officer said yesterday.

Jat Sew-tong SC said outside the court that a few witnesses had told the court of their intention to testify. He declined to reveal the exact numbers or their identities.

Jat only disclosed that the witnesses were involved in the autopsies. He said they were not police officers who took part in the rescue effort.

At least 72 of the 116 Filipino witnesses summoned to testify have declined, including bus driver Alberto Lubang, tour guide Diana Chan, photographer Danilo Nabril and radio reporter Michael Rogas, who interviewed gunman Rolando Mendoza for more than an hour on the phone.

Mendoza's younger brother Gregorio, the first Filipino to have agreed to testify, is expected to give evidence via video link tomorrow.

The court heard earlier that he had intended to testify in person but could not get a passport to leave the country.

His arrest as an accessory was followed immediately by a series of shootings inside the bus on August 23, the court heard earlier.

Police officers from Hong Kong travelled to Manila on Sunday to prepare for Gregorio Mendoza's testimony. A senior government lawyer from the Department of Justice went along to ensure the necessary procedures are properly complied with.