WATCH: Why Ampatuan was allowed to leave jail
WATCH: Why Ampatuan was allowed to leave jail
MANILA, Philippines – Maguindanao massacre suspect and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan was allowed to leave jail to attend the wedding reception of his daughter on Tuesday, August 21.
Ampatuan was captured on video waltzing with his daughter Kristina on a dance floor in Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
The video was posted on Facebook at 7:17 pm on Tuesday by Tawi-Tawi Representative Ruby Sahali, one of the guests at the wedding.
"A dance between father and his daughter. What a sight to behold," Sahali said.
Ampatuan is one of the suspected masterminds of the Maguindanao massacre in 2009, which left 58 people dead, most of whom were journalists.
At the time of the massacre, Ampatuan was the ARMM governor. He was expelled from the post after he was implicated in the crime and now faces 58 counts of murder.
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Spokesperson Xavier Solda told Rappler that Ampatuan secured a court order allowing him to leave his cell at the Quezon City Hail Annex inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City from 4 pm to 7 pm on Tuesday.Solda said Ampatuan was able to return to his cell before 7 pm.
Furlough for Zaldy Ampatuan won’t affect case’
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang was dismayed by a court decision to allow one of the primary defendants in the Maguindanao massacre to attend the wedding of his daughter but expressed confidence that it would not have an effect on the case.
The defendant, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan, was allowed by a Quezon City court to attend the wedding of his daughter at a hotel on Aug. 21.
The families of the massacre victims have expressed concern on the possible impact of the court’s decision on the charges against the defendants.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has demanded that prosecutors explain why Ampatuan was given a furlough for his daughter’s wedding. At least 32 of the 58 people killed during the 2009 massacre were journalists.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the furlough would not have an effect on the cases filed against the suspects.
“I don’t think there’s an implication. Officially, the panel of the prosecutors and the President joins them, opposed that motion and we’re dismayed that it was granted. That’s the official stand,” Roque, a former lawyer of some of the victims’ kin, said in a press briefing.
“I can assure you this will not affect the case,” he added.
The massacre, regarded as the worst attack on the press in the Philippines, happened on Nov. 23, 2009. The victims, which included 16 members of the Mangudadatu clan, were supposed to witness the filing of the certificate of candidacy for then Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu when they were murdered by armed men in Ampatuan town. The massacre prompted then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to place Maguindanao under martial law.
Last June, President Duterte said he wants a partial judgment on some of the individuals tagged in the massacre.
Previous reports said the wedding of Ampatuan’s daughter had about 60 principal sponsors, including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, presidential aide Christopher Go, presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza and Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte.
Medialdea confirmed that he was asked to become a godparent of the couple but had to “graciously excuse” himself from attending the wedding because of a prior engagement.
Go said he did not receive an invitation for the wedding. He said it has been a “usual practice” to place names in invitations even without the knowledge of the one being invited. Dureza said he did not attend the wedding because he was in events held in Davao. Sara said she also was not present during the wedding.0
Sara Duterte, Bong Go, principal sponsors sa kasal ng anak ng Maguindanao massacre suspect
Principal sponsors sina presidential daughter at Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, at Special Assistant to the President Bong Go sa kasal ng anak ng isa sa mga mastermind ng Maguindanao massacre na si Zaldy Ampatuan.
Makikita sa isang invitation ang pangalan nila Duterte at Go.
Principal sponsors rin sa kasal sina dating Vice President Jejomar Binay at anak nitong si Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay, Senator Win Gatchalian, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, at COMELEC Chairman Sheriff Abas.
Matatandaang pinayagan ng korte si Ampatuan na makalabas mula sa piitan para makadalo sa kasal ng kanyang anak noong August 21 bandang 4PM hanggang 7PM.
Isinagawa ang kasal sa Sofitel Philippine Plaza sa Pasay City.
Itinuturing na isa sa mga mastermind ng karumaldumal na Maguindanao massacre si Zaldy.
58 ang pinatay, karamihan ay mga mamamahayag sa ‘bloodiest election-related violence’ sa kasaysayan.
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Musta mga bes? Naiba focus nyo no? Galing ng mga DILAW!0
Victims’ families ‘exploding with rage’ after accused mastermind of Philippine massacre leaves jail to attend his daughter’s weddinghttps://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2161061/victims-families-exploding-rage-after-accused-mastermindIn 2009, the Maguindanao massacre claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 journalists, making it the deadliest attack on members of the media anywhere in the worldRelatives of 32 murdered journalists expressed outrage on Thursday after Zaldy Ampatuan, a prime suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, briefly left prison to attend his daughter’s wedding.
“Our hearts are bleeding profusely and our feelings are exploding with rage by the court’s careless neglect of our feelings,” the relatives said in a statement. “For nearly nine years, [we] have been grieving over the brutal slaying of our spouses, children, siblings and relatives.”
They called Ampatuan’s three-hour pass from jail on Tuesday “an unforgivable insult”. They were not told of the request but had they known, they “would have vigorously opposed it”.
The 2009 massacre claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 journalists, making it the deadliest attack on members of the media anywhere in the world. Some were shot in their genitals before being buried in a hilltop grave that was dug with a mechanical excavator.
The massacre shocked the world and reinforced perceptions of a culture of impunity in the Philippines. In 2015, the Philippine police force sacked 21 officers for failing to prevent the massacre.
The murders were provoked by a quarrel between two political clans allied with then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who used local forces as a buffer against Muslim insurgents. Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Snr wanted his son, Andal Jnr, to succeed him but Esmail Mangudadatu decided to run for governor.
Esmail’s wife and relatives, along with lawyers and journalists, were on their way to file Esmail’s certificate of candidacy when they were ambushed and murdered, reportedly by Andal Jnr, civilian militia and members of the clan’s private army. Zaldy Ampatuan, older brother of Andal Jnr, was also accused of planning the massacre.
According to Nena Santos, a lawyer for 25 members of the Mangudadatu family, at least two witnesses, including a servant in the Ampatuan household, have testified in court that Zaldy Ampatuan was “part of the planning”.
Santos said Zaldy was being charged as “the principal by inducement” because the former governor of the Muslim Mindanao Autonomous Region was present during the three stages of planning of the massacre.
Since the charge is “conspiracy to commit murders”, she said Zaldy faces 58 counts of murder. Murder charges were dropped against Zaldy in 2010 but the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 he should be among those charged.
In the Philippines, high-profile trials can last many years if the accused employ stalling tactics. Even in prison, the Ampatuans remain influential, retaining highly paid lawyers to delay the prosecution. None of the principal accused have been convicted. Witnesses are guarded around the clock in secret safe houses and some have been killed.
Governor Andal Snr died during his trial in 2015 after suffering a heart attack. Following his death, Gloria Teodoro, whose husband was one of the reporters killed, said she felt mixed emotions.
“I could not forgive him because he has shown no remorse, and the fact that the case has dragged adds to our pain,” she said. “I was happy that he’s dead, but sad because we have not got justice.”
In November 2017, some of the victims’ relatives met with President Rodrigo Duterte, who promised justice. They were brought by their former lawyer, Harry Roque, who subsequently became the presidential spokesman.
Asked about Zaldy’s temporary release, Roque said that “officially, the panel of prosecutors and the president joins them [to] oppose that motion and we’re dismayed that it was granted”.
Coincidentally, Duterte’s presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo was once a lawyer for the accused Ampatuans.
Roque insisted the wedding furlough – and the presence of the president’s daughter and members of his cabinet – would not affect the case.
Santos, though, pointed to the fact that among 60 “principal sponsors” of the wedding were Duterte’s daughter, Davao mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, executive secretary Salvador Medealdea, special assistant and presidential management staff chief Christopher “Bong” Go and peace adviser Jesus Dureza.
Duterte-Caprio recently established a regional party expected to field candidates in next year’s elections. She has not explained why her name is on the list of sponsors in the wedding invitation. She could not be reached for comment.
Santos, who grew up in Mindanao, explained the “principal sponsors” system or the godfather connection established in weddings there, particularly when political clans are involved.
“One, you ask sponsors for political favours. Two, you can join political forces and exchange votes. And three, you can strengthen bonds of friendship,” Santos said.
She stressed that “the most important reason in the choice of principal sponsor was for asking favours, especially for a relative who was in a bad situation”.
Santos sid a verdict could be reached by the middle of next year after the defence rests.0
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