MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte recognizes the leadership of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi in his ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) even after officers from the camp of party President and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao voted to expel him,… Read More
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to heed the cries for justice of the victims’ real families and colleagues by classifying the case as resolved.
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The families of journalists here, who were killed in the grisly Ampatuan massacre on Nov. 23, 2009, vowed on Monday to sustain the fight for “full justice” for the victims — no matter how long it will take.The victims’ families reiterated the commitment… Read More
On the 11th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, Malacañang on Monday vowed that government will continue hunting down suspects who are still at large and pursue charges against them.Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement to commemorate the massacre in… Read More
UNESCO classifies Ampatuan massacre case ‘resolved’
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially classified the Ampatuan massacre as “resolved”, proof that the country’s justice system in safeguarding press freedom is truly working under the Duterte administration.
Moez Chackchouk, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, announced this in his letter to Ambassador Theresa Lazaro, acknowledging the concrete efforts of the government in bringing to justice the suspects in the 2009 massacre. Read More
Government lawyers have formally asked the court trying the Maguindanao massacre case to order principal accused Zaldy Ampatuan’s return to jail from the Makati hospital where he is presently seeking treatment.
In a manifestation dated November 22 to Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn A. Solis-Reyes, prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Olivia L. Torrevillas and Tofel G. Austria said the court “should now stop extending so much grace, sympathy or concern to accused Zaldy Ampatuan but has to act firmly and with an iron hand to prevent any untoward contingency while its decision is still underway”.
The prosecutors noted that Ampatuan is still being confined at the Makati Medical Center “without any certainty and/or definite date on when he will be finally discharged therefrom.”
The relentless quest for justice for the victims of the Nov. 23, 2009 gruesome Maguindanao massacre should continue beyond the expected promulgation of judgment next month against the principal suspects in the killings. Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the… Read More
They requested the “immediate return of PDL Zaldy Ampatuan to the Quezon City Jail Annex, Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, or in the alternative to augment and/or tighten the security measures against the accused to preclude any possibility of his escape.”
“To the mind of the prosecution panel, there is no longer any need for accused Zaldy to be continuously confined at the Makati Medical Center since he is only now undergoing physical and occupational therapy, which procedure can be undertaken or done at his detention facility in Taguig City,” the prosecutors added.
In a letter dated November 19 to Solis-Reyes, Makati City Jail Superintendent Warden Jhon D. Montero of the Quezon City Jail said Ampatuan remains at a hospital in Makati City less than a month before the deadline of the promulgation of the case
“In the alternative, should accused Zaldy’s retention at the Makati Med be necessary, that security personnel guarding him be augmented to ensure that he can never take flight,” the motion read.
Montero said Ampatuan had been in the Intensive Care Unit for one week from October 22 to October 29 before he was transferred to a regular room on the afternoon of October 29. The letter noted that Ampatuan is “still confined with continuous physical therapy and occupational therapy for plegic left arm.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court (SC) granted the request of Solis-Reyes for more time to come up with a decision.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the court considered the huge volume of evidence and parties in the case in giving a 30-day extension to Solis-Reyes. Under court rules, all trial courts should promulgate their decision within the 90-day period after the case has been submitted for decision.
The case has been submitted for decision on August 22 which means the deadline for its promulgation should have been on November 20, three days before the massacre’s 10th anniversary on November 23.
The Quezon City court now has until December 20 to decide the case.
The attack resulted in the death of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, the single worst peace-time incident involving the killing of newsmen.
Other victims were family members and supporters of the Ampatuan clan’s political foe, Esmael Mangudadatu. (PNA)
Former 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.
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)