Tag Archives: Andal Ampatuan Jr.

[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

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[From the web] World Report 2011: The Philippines – www.hrw.org

World Report 2011: The Philippines
http://www.hrw.org

Benigno Aquino III, the son of the late president Corazon Aquino, swept to power in the May presidential elections on a platform of fighting corruption and promoting justice for victims of crime. The national and local elections were considered largely free and fair, though marred by violence, including dozens of killings prior to election day. Political violence continued after the elections as more than 20 activists, journalists, party members, and politicians were killed since Aquino took office on June 30.

The Philippines is a multiparty democracy with an elected president and legislature, a thriving civil society sector, and a vibrant media. But several key institutions, including law enforcement agencies and the justice system, remain weak and the military and police commit human rights violations with impunity.

In September Andal Ampatuan Jr. and 18 others went on trial for the November 23, 2009, massacre of 58 people, including more than 30 media workers in Maguindanao on the southern island of Mindanao. Several witnesses to the massacre and their family members were killed in late 2009 and 2010.

Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances

Hundreds of leftist politicians and political activists, journalists, and outspoken clergy have been killed or abducted since 2001. So far only 11 people have been convicted of these killings-none in 2010-and no one has been convicted of the abductions. While soldiers, police, and militia members have been implicated in many of these killings, no member of the military active at the time of the killing has been brought to justice.

In December 2009 the Philippines enacted the Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity Act (Republic Act 9851), which defines and penalizes war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. It provides for senior officers to be held criminally liable for abuses committed by subordinates if they knew or should have known of the abuses and did not take the necessary steps to stop them.

At least five witnesses and family members of witnesses to Ampatuan family abuses, including the Maguindanao massacre have been killed since December 2009. On June 14 an unidentified gunman shot and killed Suwaib Upahm, an Ampatuan militia member who had participated in the massacre and had offered to testify for the government if afforded witness protection. Three months before he was killed, Human Rights Watch had raised concerns with Justice Department officials in Manila about his protection. The department was still considering his request for protection at the time of his killing.

President Aquino has proposed an 80 percent budget increase for the witness protection program, but his administration has not taken steps to make the program independent and accessible and to extend protection from the onset of a police investigation until it is no longer necessary, including after the trial.

Optimism over Supreme Court writs to compel military and other officials to release information on people in their custody and take steps to protect people at risk continued to be dampened by hesitancy to grant inspection orders and difficulty in enforcing them. In two cases, the Supreme Court held that investigations had been inadequate, but simply referred the case to the national Commission on Human Rights for further investigation and monitoring-a role that the commission should already be carrying out. One of these cases involved the 2007 abduction of leftist activist Jonas Burgos who remains missing.

Read full article @ www.hrw.org

[In the news] Police blotter tells story of blocked witness – Inquirer.net

MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE TRIAL
Police blotter tells story of blocked witness
By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Even as the accused Ampatuan family members have gone to the Supreme Court to block the testimony of key government witness Kenny Dalandag, prosecutors on Wednesday succeeded in putting into the court record Dalagdag’s initial report to the police about the Maguindanao massacre.

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes allowed policeman Cixon Kasan, former officer in charge of the Buluan, Maguindanao, police station, to read the entry he wrote in the police blotter when Dalandag went to the station at around 2 a.m. of Nov. 24, 2009, only hours after the massacre which left at least 57 people dead.

“(Kasan) was not supposed to testify now but we moved his testimony forward because the Ampatuans are stopping [Dalandag] from testifying,” said a prosecution team member who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[From the web] Alliance against impunity formed – Bulatlat.com

Alliance against impunity formed

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA –Wearing a black dress, Monette Salaysay took the stage and began speaking. Her voice broke and her tears fell the moment she uttered the name of her husband, Napoleon, one of the 32 journalists killed in the Maguindanao massacre on November 23, 2009.

“After two years, I thought I would no longer cry. But it still pains me,” Salaysay said in Filipino. “What makes it even more painful is the fact that the killing was brutal and that the former president knew how evil the perpetrators are.”

“I knew little about the law but I can say that we are just being given the runaround,” Salaysay, who religiously attend hearings, said. Since the massacre, only two members of the Ampatuan clan who are suspected of masterminding the carnage have been arraigned.

In the room are many other relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Like Salaysay, they have lost their husbands, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, co-workers and friends to state violence. Now, as they continue to mourn and to search, they have started raising their fists against a monster called impunity.

Read full article @ bulatlat.com

[In the news] Kin of massacre victims oppose accused transfer – inquirer.net

Kin of massacre victims oppose accused transfer
By Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Relatives of 26 Maguindanao massacre victims have opposed a bid to transfer three accused who were not admitted as state witnesses to join the other accused in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

In a motion, the families, including Maguindanao governor Esmael Mangundadatu protested the sought-after transfer of Mohammad Sangki, Police Officer 1 Rainier Ebus and Inspector Rex Ariel Diongon.

Read full article @ inquirer.net

[In the news] Surprise visits to Ampatuan jail cells proposed – Interaksyon.com

Surprise visits to Ampatuan jail cells proposed – Interaksyon.com.

Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines — Families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre will press the government to allow them to conduct surprise visits on the detention facility of the members of the Ampatuan clan, principal suspects in the murder.

The families, who organized themselves into a group called Justice Now!, and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said they will submit their letter of request to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) for access to the Ampatuan jail amid reports that the powerful clan has been getting special treatment while in detention.

Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary general, said Justice Now! and NUJP have received reports that the Ampatuans are getting special treatment and are enjoying perks while in detention such as having their own helpers, catered food, airconditioned room, and use of cellular phones.

Reports have also reached them that the Ampatuans were also able to leave the facility in the company of jail guards, according to Paraan.

“If somebody like (former Batangas governor Antonio) Leviste can get out of jail anytime he pleases, then it’s not far-fetched that it happens also to somebody like the Ampatuans, who are more powerful and wealthy than Leviste,” Paraan said.

Alwyn Alburo, NUJP vice president, said families of the victims want transparency from the government to see how it is treating the suspects in the gruesome murder.

Six members of the Ampatuan clan are currently in jail, namely, former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., his son former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Rizaldy Ampatuan, former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., former Shariff Aguak mayor Datu Anwar Ampatuan, former vice governor Datu Sajid Ampatuan, and former Mamasapano mayor Akmad Ampatuan.

The six are sharing a cell in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan. The rest of the 90 suspects who have been arrested are also in the police camp.

There are at least 196 suspects believed involved in the murder of 57 people, including 32 media workers, on November 23, 2009 in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town.

At the 18th month commemoration of the massacre held in the House of Representatives Monday, Edith Tiamzon, widow of one of the journalists killed, said they want to see the condition of the Ampatuans in jail to ensure they are not getting VIP treatment.

Tiamzon lamented that the case has dragged for a year-and-a-half now and that justice is still nowhere in sight.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said lawmakers are wondering, too, about the progress of the case.

“After 18 months, the House is asking, too, what happened to the case? We are one with the families and supporters of the victims in seeking justice,” he said.

Belmonte said he hopes that justice would soon be served the families of the victims to ease their pain of losing their loved ones.

“I’m thinking what made people like Datu Unsay think they can do it. Let’s say the area there was dominated by warlords, but then we have innate humanity. What gave them the mindset that they can commit such murder?” he added.

Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tanada III, the deputy speaker, appealed to the public not to forget about the massacre.

“As long as we never forget, we keep justice within reach…Our homage to the victims is our mark of vigilance,” he said.

Gabriela partlist Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus and Bayan Muna partylist Representative Teddy Casino also attended the commemoration.