Tag Archives: ampatuan massacre


SC affirms CA junking of bail plea


zaldy ampatianFormer Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan will remain in jail as the Supreme Court (SC) turned down his petition for bail on murder charges, in connection with the Maguindanao massacre.

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In a six-page notice made available to newsmen Wednesday, the SC’s First Division through Division Clerk of Court Librada C. Buena said the court on July 22 resolved to deny Ampatuan’s petition “for lack of merit”.
The decision affirmed the April 2018 ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA), which refused to grant bail to the petitioner.
The court explained that ruling on whether Ampatuan, who is among those charged with 58 counts of murder for the Maguindanao massacre, is entitled to bail could inadvertently result in deciding the main case itself, which is now submitted for resolution before the lower court.
“In determining the veracity of the evidence petitioner presented in support of his denial and alibi and to rebut the evidence of the prosecution, the Court will necessarily have to rule on the admissibility and probative value of these (pieces of) evidence. By deciding for or against his bail application on the basis of factual issues raised by petitioner, the court will be prematurely deciding the case beyond the parameters of judicial review at this stage of the proceedings, and preempt the parties from presenting their respective evidence during trial,” the court said.
“This court is of the view that these issues are best threshed out in a full-blown trial. The court must defer making a conclusion on this matter since the participation of conspirators, principals, accomplices and accessories are matter adjudged as a whole at the conclusion of the evidence-in-chief,” the tribunal pointed out.
Henchmen of the Ampatuan clan allegedly ambushed the convoy of their political rivals, the Mangudadatus, killing the victims who  included 32 local newsmen and supporters and relatives of the Mangundadatu clan.
The event is the single most deadly event involving journalists in the country.
Among the witnesses were Esmael “Toto” Mangundadatu, Maganoy, Maguindanao vice mayor Sukarno Badal, and Lakmodin Saliao, the alleged personal assistant of Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr.
The witnesses said the petitioner gave his blessings to the ambush by phone while he was in Manila attending official events and volunteered the use of his cache of firearms and ordered the ambush group to leave no traces after the attack. (PNA)


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The relatives of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre will oppose the appointment of Atty. Salvador Panelo as a member of the Duterte administration.

ampatuan 6 paneloThey said it could lead to a whitewash aside from him being conflicted if the case is discussed in Palace press briefings. Panelo earlier said the charges were fabricated and his clients were framed. In effect, the relatives said Panelo accused them of lying and frame-up.

The relatives of the victims of the infamous 2009 Ampatuan Massacre expressed fear that Panelo would sit in the Cabinet of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte.

Panelo, who lawyers for members of the Ampatuans, prime suspects in the carnage, has been mentioned as the incoming Press Secretary of Duterte who will assume as the 16th President of the Philippines on July 1.

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Fifty-eight people, 32 of them media workers, were brutally killed in the Ampatuan Massacre, named after the town in Maguindanao province where the incident happened, on Nov. 23, 2009.

The primary suspects in the mass murder were Ampatuan clan patriarch former Maguindanao Gov. Andal  Ampatuan Sr. and his sons Andal Ampatuan Jr., former mayor of Datu Unsay town and Zaldy Ampatuan, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Ampatuan Sr, on trial for masterminding the massacre, died from liver cancer on July 2015. Zaldy and Andal Jr. are in jail. .More than 100 security men of the Ampatuans have also been charged.


The Justice Now Movement, composed of relatives of the victims expressed apprehension they may not find justice with Panelo in the Cabinet of Duterte.

Emily Lopez, president of the group, said it would be unfair to the victims and their relatives if Duterte names Panelo as his Press Secretary.

“We will oppose Panelo in the Duterte Cabinet. He is the lawyer of the Ampatuans. If he is in the position, what will happen to our case? We may no longer find justice. He could even have those suspects in jail released,” said Lopez.

“Hindi na kami mabigyan ng justice. Malabo ng magkaroon ng justice kung maging spokesperson siya ng Presidente (We will no longer find justice if he becomes the spokesperson of the President),” said Monette Salaysay, a midwife at the Cotabato Regional Hospital whose husband, radio broadcaster Nap Salaysay, was among the journalists killed in what was tagged by the Committee on the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) as the world’s worst politically-related violence against members of the press.

The victims – including the wife, relatives and supporters of Buluan town Vice Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu — were in a convoy on their way to   the filing of the certificate of candidacy (CoC) for Maguindanao governor of Mangudadatu when attacked by the security force of the Ampatuans.

“Ayaw namin na maupo sya. Hindi natin alam kung ano ang magiging influence nya sa kaso, (We don’t want Panelo in the Duterte Cabinet. Being the lawyer of the Ampatuans, we can speculate how he could influence the case),” according to Koronadal City school teacher Noemi Parcon, widow of Joel Parcon, publisher of weekly Frontera newspaper who also perished in the massacre.

The mother of another victim, Victor Nuñez of UNTV, Katherine Nuñez of Cagayan de Oro City, said lawyer Harry Roque, legal counsel of Justice Now Movement, will oppose the appointment of Panelo in the Duterte Cabinet.

The Duterte administration assumes office six years after the deadly massacre, with the relatives of the victims accusing the Aquino administration of foot-dragging on the case.

“Majority sa amin poor pero hindi tanga (We are poor but we are not fools). Fifty eight (58) persons were killed but we are taken for granted!” said Salaysay who suspects bribery had been stalling solution of the case with some of the primary suspects being granted bail.

After assuming as the legal counsel of the Ampatuans, Panelo immediately declared to the media that his clients are being framed for a crime they did not commit.

For saying that the crime levelled against the Ampatuans was unfounded, Panelo effectively declared that the relatives and witnesses, some of whom have been killed and harassed, are lying about their testimonies.