Tag Archives: Ampatuan

[People] Dispatches: Four Years On, No Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims. By Carlos H. Conde

Dispatches: Four Years On, No Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims
By Carlos H. Conde

The threat was unambiguous. If Bong Andal testified against one of the Philippines’ most powerful political families about their alleged involvement in the November 23, 2009 massacre on the southern island of Mindanao, his family would suffer. “They came again last month, showing our pictures to my relatives, letting them know that they’re watching us,” Andal told me by phone this week.

200px-Hrw_logo.svg

Those threats – and the Philippine government’s inability or unwillingness to stop them – speak volumes about the glacial pace of judicial proceedings against alleged perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre, in which the Ampatuan family’s “private army” murdered 58 people. Four years after the bodies of the victims were located off of a highway outside of the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, the massacre remains a shameful exemplar of impunity in the Philippines.

The basic facts of the case are undisputed. Armed men paid by the Ampatuan family, including local police and soldiers, stopped a convoy that included the wife of opposition politician Esmael Mangudadatu, his supporters and family members, and more than 30 media workers.

Mangudadatu had sent them to file his candidacy for provincial governor in elections scheduled for the following year.

The gunmen herded everyone in the convoy to a hilltop a few miles away and promptly executed them. Many were buried in mass graves excavated by a backhoe operated by Bong Andal. In his statements to prosecutors, Andal said he witnessed members of the Ampatuan militia shoot several of the victims. The crime was the worst single attack against members of the media in history and one of the Philippines’ worst single incidents of political violence.

Four years later, the case is in effective judicial limbo. A total of 94 suspects remain at large. Bail petitions and testimony challenges by the defense lawyers of the 101 suspects in custody have overwhelmed the court.

But the problem of the Maguindanao massacre case is more than a failure of judicial process. It is about whether those threatening Bong Andal rather than the authorities control the proceedings. It’s a cruel reminder to activists, journalists, and politicians critical of the status quo that they too might be targeted with impunity. The human rights rhetoric of the government of President Benigno Aquino III has not transformed the dangerous reality on the ground. As Aquino enters the last half of his six-year term in office, he should recognize that he will be ultimately judged by his actions, not his words.

November 21, 2013

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Another suspect in Ampatuan Massacre falls -MindaNews.com

Another suspect in Ampatuan Massacre falls
By Allen V. Estabillo, MindaNews.com
November 2 2012

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 02 November)– A former town councilor in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao who was allegedly involved in the gruesome Ampatuan Massacre has been arrested in Surallah, South Cotabato, a police official said on Friday.

Senior Supt. Randolf Delfin, South Cotabato police director, said that Abedin Alamada alias “Kumander Bedi” was nabbed at around midnight Wednesday by a joint police team in a house in Sitio Lanas, Barangay Upper Sepaka in Surallah town.

He said Alamada allegedly headed the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) of Datu Unsay town and was directly involved in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons, including 32 media workers, in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.

“His arrest was the result of efficient intelligence gathering and cooperation by concerned residents in the area,” Delfin said.

The police official said Alamada, who did not resist arrest, was nabbed based on a warrant of arrest issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn A Solis-Reyes.

The arresting team was composed of elements from the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office, Provincial Police Public Safety Company, Special Action Force, Surallah municipal police station and the Region 12 police intelligence division.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Body not found but 58th massacre victim recognized -INQUIRER.net

Body not found but 58th massacre victim recognized.

By Jeannette I. Andrade, Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 26, 2012

Although his body has not been found, Reynaldo Momay, a photojournalist from General Santos City, has been formally recognized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the 58th victim of the “Maguindanao Massacre” in 2009.

In a DOJ resolution, Assistant State Prosecutor Bernardo Parico said the dentures recovered at the crime scene in Barangay (village) Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, as well as statements of witnesses that Momay was among those killed were enough evidence to prove that he was a victim.

Momay, 63, was working for the weekly community paper Midland Review when he joined a convoy of 58 people that accompanied the wife of then Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan town in Maguindanao to the capital, Shariff Aguak, to file his certificate of candidacy for governor on Nov. 23, 2009.

All of them, including 32 media workers, were killed allegedly by members of the Ampatuan clan and their henchmen in Sitio Masalay in Barangay Salman, 3.5 kilometers from the national highway in Ampatuan town. Some were buried along with three vehicles, while others were shot in the head.

Murder charges have been filed against 197 people, including former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., in Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221.

Only 96, however, have been arrested and detained, and 78 of them have already been arraigned.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] 1000th day since Ampatuan massacre to be marked with vigil for justice -InterAksyon.com

1000th day since Ampatuan massacre to be marked with vigil for justice

By InterAksyon.com
August 18, 2012

MANILA, Philippines — Media organizations, press freedom and human rights advocates, artists and victims’ relatives will hold an overnight vigil from Sunday to Monday to commemorate the thousandth day since the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre.

The vigil, which starts 4 p.m. Sunday until 9 a.m. Monday, will be held at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which is spearheading the activity, said the continued murders of journalists after the massacre and the continued failure to enact a Freedom of Information law “have underscored the dire state of press freedom in the country.”

The massacre claimed 58 lives, including 32 media workers, most of them in a convoy on its way to file the candidacy for governor of Maguindanao of then Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.

The slaughter has been officially recognized as the deadliest single attack on the press in history. It has also been described as the worst incident of electoral violence in recent Philippine history.

However, despite the enormity of the crime, close to three years after, the prosecution of the 196 accused, led by key members of the powerful Ampatuan clan, has barely cleared the starting gate. Only 76 suspects have been indicted, including just two of the detained clan members — patriarch Andal Amaptuan Sr. and his son, Andal Jr., who is said to have led the gunmen who stopped the convoy and murdered its passengers.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Let us never allow the MOA-AD experience to repeat itself -MPC

MPC Statement: “Let us never allow the MOA-AD experience to repeat itself

12 August 2012 – The Mindanao Peoples Caucus calls on all peace loving peoples of Mindanao and the entire country to close ranks and unite behind the earnest efforts of the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to put a final closure to the armed conflict in Mindanao by signing a peace agreement at the soonest possible time.

MPC believes that the current attacks in the municipalities of Datu Unsay, Guindulungan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) are being used as a proxy war by politicians and powers that be in Mindanao who feel threatened by an incipient peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The developing scenario is reminiscent of MOA-AD in 2008 where provocation and harassments were launched by armed groups to cause chaos, confusion and hysteria among the people.

From the reports of Bantay Ceasefire, the sporadic attacks by the BIFF have already affected seven towns in Maguindanao and one barangay in Pikit, North Cotabato, displacing around 7,000 families.

While BIFF may have grievances, MPC believes that there are influential politicians riding on in their issues in order to create a scenario that will put to serious question the viability of signing a peace agreement with the MILF. This is an old recycled tactic that is being used every time there is a clear breakthrough in the negotiations.

MPC is also deeply concerned over messages circulating via mobile phones, Facebook and other social media networks on rumors and false information, causing public alarm and panic in the conflict-affected areas.

We urge fellow peace advocates and media to help verify and validate information so that we will not become willing victims of war propaganda.

MPC calls to mind its 16 April 2011 meeting with Ustadz Amiril Umra Kato, leader of the BIFF, who said that he will leave it to the MILF to negotiate with government. His group does not need to negotiate. The peace panels can continue the talks “at kung maganda ang resulta, automatic, agree na kami”. But, “to see is to believe, huwag agad maniwala sa mga salita nila. Hindi na kami madala sa deception ng gobyerno, the MOA-AD is the best proof of such deception.”

Given the positive developments in the peace talks, with the panels already at the homestretch of the negotiations, we challenge the leadership of BIFF to maintain its “wait and see” attitude and not to make further moves that can only derail the negotiations and put civilians in precarious and uncertain conditions in the evacuation centers.

Read full article @ mpc.org.ph

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] 100 Ampatuan massacre suspects still scot-free | Sun.Star

100 Ampatuan massacre suspects still scot-free | Sun.Star.

By Bong S. Sarmiento
May 24, 2012

KORONADAL CITY — Some 100 suspects in the gruesome massacre in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao that shocked the nation two years ago have remained scot-free, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Wednesday.

Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary general, also stressed that only 96 of the 196 suspects have been arrested since the manslaughter happened.

She also lamented that of the 64 suspects arraigned, only two of them are primary suspects — former Maguindanao Governor Andal S. Ampatuan Sr. and his son and namesake Andal U. Ampatuan Jr., former mayor of Datu Unsay town.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[in the news] 100 Ampatuan massacre suspects still scot-free | Sun.Star

100 Ampatuan massacre suspects still scot-free | Sun.Star.

By Bong S. Sarmiento
May 24, 2012

KORONADAL CITY — Some 100 suspects in the gruesome massacre in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao that shocked the nation two years ago have remained scot-free, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Wednesday.

Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary general, also stressed that only 96 of the 196 suspects have been arrested since the manslaughter happened.

She also lamented that of the 64 suspects arraigned, only two of them are primary suspects — former Maguindanao Governor Andal S. Ampatuan Sr. and his son and namesake Andal U. Ampatuan Jr., former mayor of Datu Unsay town.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Ampatuan no-show at arraignment -RAPPLER.com

Ampatuan no-show at arraignment.

BY PATERNO ESMAQUEL II, RAPPLER.com

March 15, 2012


MANILA, Philippines – The scheduled arraignment of former Maguindanao Gov Andal Ampatuan Sr for electoral sabotage Thursday, March 15, did not push through after the ailing patriarch skipped the proceedings at the Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC).

Ampatuan was still reportedly ill after he vomited blood and was rushed to the hospital Friday, March 9. 

Quezon City RTC Branch 221 issued an order to continue Ampatuan’s hospital confinement, said Pasay RTC Branch 112 spokesperson Felda Domingo in an interview.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

[In the news] Ampatuan patriarch’s military hospital stay: the third time around -MindaNews

MindaNews » Ampatuan patriarch’s military hospital stay: the third time around.

Ampatuan patriarch’s military hospital stay: the third time around
By Carolyn O. Arguillas, MindaNews.com
March 11, 2012

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 March) – Andal Ampatuan, Sr’s  confinement in a military hospital  in Quezon City since Friday is the third hospital stay for the former Maguindanao Governor since his arrest on December 5, 2009  as among the principal suspects in the massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media

The 70-year old Ampatuan, who spent the first four months of his life as prisoner in an  airconditioned room inside a military hospital in Davao City, was rushed to the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital on Friday and later transferred to the intensive care unit of the pulmonology service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ V. Luna Memorial Medical Hospital in Quezon City, Interaksyon.com reported.

Ampatuan was rushed to the hospital from his detention cell in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, after vomiting blood and suffering difficulty in breathing. Dr. Robert Abat, director of the Taguig hospital told GMA News that based on laboratory tests and X-Ray, the patient had “pneumonia and pulmonary congestion.”

Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office was quoted by philstar.com as having said Ampatuan was diagnosed by military doctors as suffering from “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic alcoholic liver disease.”

GMA News reported his lawyers filed a motion in court to allow him to stay in the hospital and that the court would hear the motion on Monday.

Ampatuan spent the first 163 days of his detention  in Davao City hospitals: two days at the city’s premier health facility, the Davao Doctors Hospital, and four months and ten days at the seaside Camp Panacan Station Hospital of the Eastern Mindanao Command for various ailments, according to the seven page medical bulletin from December 7, 2009 to January 3, 2010  released by the EastMinCom.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[in the news] CA junks rebellion case against Ampatuans – GMAnetwork.com

CA junks rebellion case against Ampatuans
Andreo Calonzo/VS, GMA News
January 2, 2012

 The Court of Appeals on Monday dismissed the rebellion case against members of the Ampatuan clan and their allies for lack of probable cause, a GMA News TV report said.

The appellate court upheld a previous ruling by the Quezon City Regional Court Branch 77 junking the case for the government’s supposed failure to present evidence to support the rebellion case. [/news/story/187254/news/nation/court-junks-rebellion-raps-vs-ampatuan-patriarch-others]

Among the Ampatuans named as respondents to the case are: clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, Datu Akmad Tato Ampatuan, Datu Anwar Ampatuan and Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan.

Members of the powerful Ampatuan clan in Central Mindanao have been blamed for the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, in Maguindanao province on Nov. 23, 2009.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Eyewitness wary of Maguindanao cops’ links to Ampatuans – GMAnews.tv

Eyewitness wary of Maguindanao cops’ links to Ampatuans
MARK DALAN MERUEÑAS, GMA News

An eyewitness in the infamous Maguindanao massacre had apparently requested that his confessions be withheld from the provincial police because they allegedly had “close ties” with the Ampatuan clan, the family implicated in the grisly crime.

This was according to SPO2 Cixon Kasan, the former officer-in-charge of the Buluan municipal police who placed on blotter the confessions made by Kenny Dalandag, the eyewitness, hours after the Nov. 23, 2009 carnage that left 57 people dead.

“Sabi ni Daladag, huwag ko raw ipaalam sa ibang mga pulis ang mga sinabi niya, lalo na kay Dicay,” Kasan said during the hearing while being cross examined by the defense at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Kasan said Dicay was Chief Inspector Zukarno Dicay, the deputy provincial police director of Maguindanao at the time of the massacre. Dicay is among the 197 suspects charged in the multiple murder case.

Dalandag was allegedly among the members of the Ampatuan clan’s private army who flagged down the victims and brought them to a hilly portion of Barangay Salman where they were shot to death.

Read full article @ www.gmanews.tv

[In the news] Massacre victims’ kin amend plunder raps vs Ampatuans – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Massacre victims’ kin amend plunder raps vs Ampatuans – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

SOPHIA DEDACE, GMA News

Four relatives of journalists killed in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre amended the plunder complaint they filed last January against members of the Ampatuan clan implicated in what is said to be the worst politically-motivated violence in the country.

In a 10-page supplemental affidavit, the relatives asked the Office of the Ombudsman to take cognizance of a Commission on Audit (COA) report detailing the alleged misuse of funds allotted for the office of Rizaldy “Zaldy” Ampatuan, suspended governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The COA’s scrutiny of funds covered January 2008 to September 2009, when Zaldy was still in office.

“The COA-SAO Report No. 2010-01 concluded that funds received by the Office of the Regional Governor for its own operation were not properly utilized and managed taking into consideration applicable laws, rules and regulations,” the affidavit said.

The original complaint was filed on Jan. 14, 2011.

Read full article @ GMAnews.tv (link above)