Tag Archives: Zaldy Ampatuan

[In the news] 78 massacre suspects face charges over 58th victim -INQUIRER.net

78 massacre suspects face charges over 58th victim.
By Julie M. Aurelio, Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 26, 2013

inquirer

A Quezon City court hearing the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case has ordered the arraignment of 78 suspects for the 58th murder case filed recently on behalf of a slain photojournalist whose remains were never recovered.

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of QC Regional Trial Court Branch 221 ruled that there was probable cause to continue with the case for the murder of photojournalist Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay.

The court set the arraignment of Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, and 76 others on Wednesday at the Quezon City Jail Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

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[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] Feared Ampatuan clan outgunned Philippine military—WikiLeaks

Feared Ampatuan clan outgunned Philippine military—WikiLeaks.

MANILA, Philippines—The 2,000-strong private army of a powerful clan suspected of carrying out the Philippines’ worst political massacre was better armed than the military and police, leaked US embassy cables showed.

The cables from late 2009, released by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, described the reach of the feared Ampatuan clan in the southern region of Mindanao and said it had authorities on the run.

Key members of the clan and its private army are now being tried for the murder of 57 people in Mindanao in 2009 but many of the accused are still at large, making witnesses reluctant to come forward.

“We estimate that the Ampatuan clan maintains a private army of up to 2,000 men – who are often better armed and equipped than their (police) and (military) counterparts,” an embassy cable said.

“Government officials were astonished by the size of the arms caches and the power of the weaponry” that was later recovered from the Ampatuans, another cable said.

Read full article @ inquirer.net

[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

[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

[People] Justice is the Hope of the Afflicted – by Fr. Shay Cullen

by Fr. Shay Cullen
www.preda.org

There is perhaps nothing as painful as the smirking face of an accused mass murderer, killer and ethnic cleanser, Ratko Mladic, Bosnian Serb commander, almost laughing at the world that has finally brought him to judgment at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands. Munira Subasic was weeping outside the court as she saw the face of the alleged killer of her son, one of almost 7000 men and boys that were rounded up by him, General Ratko Mladic in 1995 and massacred at Srebrenica. It was a horrific act of genocide and one of many alleged crimes against humanity he is said to have ordered and even participated in. While the evidence is overwhelming, he showed no compunction, remorse, sadness, no realization of his alleged crime but military defiance as he gave salutes to the court and the media as if he was still a powerful general and not an accused criminal on trial for horrific acts of murder.

“He lied to me and took my son to his death” Munira Subasic told reporters, “I come here today to see the butcher again and to see if his eyes are bloody, because they were bloody in 1995,” she said. It is a great encouragement for all who hunger and thirst for justice that the International Criminal Court has the support and the power to bring some of these accused mass murderers to trial. There are many more who pulled the triggers and may never be brought to justice but at least a few of the masterminds have. At the time, 1995, and even now, it is hard to believe that such brutal atrocities could and did happen in our modern times. But they do, in Rwanda, in Darfur, in Maguindanao, Philippines last November 2009, and today in Syria and Libya. There, innocent, non-violent protestors are being shot by the dozens every day on the streets. They are demanding the end to the Assad family dictatorship. That family has ruled Syria for more than thirty years, they are a minority group, the Alwite, the majority of the Syrian people and the rank and file of the army are Sunnis Muslims. One day, may the whole family stand trial at the Hague for their crimes against humanity.

In the Philippines, the Ampatuan family clan, led by patriarch Andal Ampatuan and his eldest son former governor Zaldy Ampatuan and eight members are among the 197 accused. They ruled the province of Maguindanao as an independent state with the blessing and support of the former discredited Arroyo administration. They are charged with the multiple murder of 57 people, among them many journalists and members of a rival clan. Their assets have been ordered frozen and when the trial proper begins it will be shown live on television to the nation. The transparency will be welcome.

These are signs of hope and will give encouragement to all especially the families of the victims, the human rights workers and all who have suffered injustice. But they are all too few and still there are killings and assassinations that are never solved and few suspects are brought to trial. But a little justice is better than none at all. We must continue to work for justice especially for the abused and murdered children like the raped and murdered child, 7 year-old Mikey Prado that I wrote about previously. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has ordered the crime reinvestigated by the national police.

There are the many young people murdered by death squads believed to be secret police. Recently, three street boys were found bound, gagged, tortured and mutilated by a suspected maverick police squad in Zamboanga City. We appeal for readers to send email, write letters to the newspapers and support the Justice Secretary De Lima in her quest for justice for victims of human rights abuses.

For Christians, seeking justice is at the heart of the mission of Jesus who called blessed all who hunger and thirst for justice. He gave himself as a living sacrifice to save the world from such evils. It is His spirit that lives on in the quest for justice by all who seek it. (Preda @ info.com.ph)

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)
http://www.preda.org/main/archives/2011/r11060801.html

[In the news] Court of Appeals issues freeze order vs Ampatuan assets – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Court of Appeals issues freeze order vs Ampatuan assets – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

SOPHIA DEDACE, GMA News

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered government agencies and banking institutions to freeze the accounts and properties of the Ampatuan clan, whose members are charged with masterminding the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre in Maguindanao.

In a 23-page decision, the appellate court’s Special Second Division said the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was able to establish that the Ampatuans may have used the accounts and properties in committing fraud, such as amassing up to P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth.

“We agree with petitioner that probable cause exists that the subject bank accounts and other described properties of the respondents in the petition are related to unlawful activities; and that unless frozen, the funds in the subject accounts will certainly be withdrawn and the other identified properties disposed of, thereby placing them beyond the reach of the law,” the CA said in granting the AMLC’s plea.

Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo wrote the decision, which was concurred in by Associate Justices Bienvenido Reyes and Elihu Ybañez.

The accounts and properties in question belong to 28 members of the Ampatuan family members, led by patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr. and suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Rizaldy “Zaldy” Ampatuan.”

As of this posting, GMA News Online was still trying to reach the Ampatuan lawyers, Philip Sigfrid Fortun and Redemberto Villanueva.

Andal Sr. and his relatives stand accused in the multiple murder trial over the Maguindanao massacre, where 57 people were killed, including 32 journalists. The carnage is said to be the worst politically-motivated violence in the Philippines.

Accounts, properties covered

The freeze order, effective for 20 days, covers the Ampatuans’ accounts and properties in the following agencies and banking institutions:

Allied Banking Corporation, Banco de Oro, Unibank Inc., Bank of the Philippine Islands, BPI Family Savings Bank, Coop Bank of Cotabato, Development Bank of the Philippines, East West Banking Corporation, Equicom Savings Bank Inc., Equitable Card Network Inc., Equitable PCI Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metrobank Car Corporation, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, One Network RB Inc., Philam Equitable Life Assurance Company.

Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corporation, Philippine National Bank, Philippine Savings Bank, Planters Development Bank, PruLife Insurance Corporation of UK, RCBC Savings Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Security Bank Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling Bank of Asia Inc., Toyota Financial Services Philippine Corporation, Union Bank of the Philippines, United Coconut Planters Bank, Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office, Land Transportation Office, Register of Deeds of Davao City, Register of Deeds of Maguindanao and/or Cotabato City and Province of Maguindanao.

The order also covers properties including the Deal Gems and Jewelries Pawnshop and Maguindanao Electric Coop (Magelco), believed to be owned by the Ampatuans.

The appellate court directed these entities to inform the court and the AMLC of the following: account numbers and names of account owners, amount of monetary instrument, and property or related web accounts as of the time they are frozen.

AMLC petition

The AMLC had asked the Court of Appeals to issue the freeze order after finding alleged irregularities in the Ampatuans’ financial statements.

Citing the Commission on Audit’s (COA) Special Audit Report No. 2010-01, the council said that the Office of the Regional Governor of ARMM (Zaldy Ampatuan‘s office) received P19.9 billion and cash allocations of P17.169 billion from national government coffers.

Of the amount, P14.61 billion was supposedly transferred by Zaldy’s office to 25 ARMM line agencies and departments.

The COA report said that the money allotted for Zaldy’s office before his suspension in 2009 was “not properly utilized and managed.”

‘Wealth does not match income’

The AMLC said the lifestyle check on the Ampatuans led by Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Humphrey Monteroso indicating that the clans’ wealth does not match the legitimate income reported by family members.

The council noted that some P90 million was not declared in Andal Sr.’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). It said that the clan patriarch has 27 houses in Cotabato City, Davao City, and Shariff Aguak, the capital of Maguindano province. However, he only declared P21.5 million worth of real properties when the amount should have been about P68 million, the AMLC said.

The council added that the patriarch owns at least 91 vehicles valued at P111 million, but only P45 million worth of vehicles was declared.

“It was concluded by the panel that even if the alleged undisclosed assets and properties were declared by Datu Andal Sr., in his SALNs, their aggregate value cannot be justified by the net or disposable income as derived from the annual income tax returns, leading to the conclusion that he amassed unexplained wealth manifestly and excessively out of proportion to his legitimate income from 2000 to 2009 in the aggregate amount of P188.42 million,” AMLC said in its petition. — VS, GMA News

[In the news] Int’l media group: Scrap contempt raps in massacre case – Interaksyon.com

Int’l media group: Scrap contempt raps in massacre case – Interaksyon.com.

MANILA, Philippines – An international media federation that represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries urged the Court of Appeals on Tuesday to withdraw the indirect contempt case against an officer of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the widow of one of the media workers killed in the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre.

International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific director Jacqueline Park, in a statement, said the group was “concerned that the allegations against Rowena Paraan and Monette Salaysay are being used to silence witnesses, advocates and families of victims of the massacre.”

Paraan is secretary general of the NUJP, the IFJ’s Philippine affiliate. Salaysay’s husband Napoleon was one of the 58 persons killed in what has been called the worst incident of electoral violence in recent Philippine history and the worst single attack on the press ever.

The two face jail terms and hefty fines if the CA finds them in contempt.

The appellate court has asked the two to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for allegedly foisting “bias and corruption upon members of the court.”

Both had voiced concern about the slow trial of those accused of the massacre and also why two of the justices did not inhibit themselves from hearing a petition from suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government Zaldy Ampatuan to have himself dropped from the list of accused, when they had done so during a similar petition filed earlier by Ampatuan’s father Andal Sr.

The two are among key members of the powerful Maguindanao political clan who are accused of planning and carrying out the massacre.

The IFJ noted that the concern voiced out by Paraan ans Salaysay “are shared by members of the House of Representatives in the Philippines, including House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who vowed on May 23, which marked a year and a half since the massacre, ‘not to forget and to do everything we can’ to help resolve the case.”

Park also cited a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations that found 51 percent of Filipinos saying the massacre trial and also noted growing criticism for how government is handling the situation.

“There is clearly broad public sentiment in the Philippines regarding a need to speed up the trials of the massacre suspects,” Park said. “The people of the Philippines have not forgotten that President Aquino made a public commitment before taking office that he would ensure justice is served in this case.”

The IFJ also urged “judicial and government officials to condemn any efforts to obstruct the speedy and fair trial of the massacre accused, and to ensure the focus of judicial actions remains on the conduct of the actual trials.”

Despite the contempt case, the NUJP has urged press freedom advocates and the victims’ families to “remain steadfast” in their quest for justice.

“More than ever, there is a need to remain vigilant on the conduct and proceedings of the [massacre] case amid continued reports of threats against the victims’ families and legal maneuvers of the accused,” the NUJP said in a statement.

“We will not be cowed into surrendering our right to free expression for we cannot afford to be silent as we monitor the progress of a case that is crucial … because its outcome may well determine whether we can continue to consider ourselves a democracy, a nation, a people,” it said.

The IFJ noted that it remained “unclear whether the petition against Paraan and Salaysay was based on a submission by lawyers defending massacre suspects, or initiated by the judiciary independently,” citing the fact that the citation against the two “is similar in tone to comments made by Zaldy Ampatuan in a newspaper advertisement published nationally on March 23. The advertisement alleged public comments were prejudicial to those accused of involvement in organizing and committing the massacre.”

Aside from Paraan and Salaysay, another contempt case has also been filed against private prosecutor Harry Roque for comments he made in a documentary film on the massacre.

[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)

[In the news] Ampatuan to be charged with plunder | The Philippine Star News Headlines

 

Zaldy Ampatuan File photo source: tunaynalalake.blogspot.com

Ampatuan to be charged with plunder | The Philippine Star News Headlines.

By Edu Punay, Source: Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines –  Detained former governor Zaldy Ampatuan and other former officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be charged with plunder for the alleged misallocation of ARMM funds worth at least P2.559 billion.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo met yesterday to map out the filing of charges and eventual prosecution of the case.

It was agreed during the closed-door meeting that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) would turn over to the Department of Justice (DOJ) within this week the Commission on Audit (COA) report and other documents detailing excessive disbursements of ARMM funds made during Ampatuan’s tenure from January 2008 to September 2009, including an unaccounted amount worth P1 billion.

“We will evaluate those documents so (we) can form appropriate legal strategy in pursuing that plunder case,” De Lima said.

“We have to really closely examine them so we can come up with a clean legal perspective of the case.”

Speaking to reporters, De Lima said she plans to create a special committee of state prosecutors for this purpose.

The evaluation would be done with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General, she added.

De Lima said they plan to determine who could be held liable for the questionable disbursement of ARMM funds uncovered during a COA special audit conducted from Feb. 1 to Dec. 20 last year.

Robredo said they are submitting 15 names to the DOJ, including Ampatuan as the highest official, for investigation.

De Lima said they would also look into possible cover-up of the anomaly.

“In the first place, why was the audit conducted only last year?” she said.

“There are supposed to be auditors assigned there – they are either scared or complicit.

“This (anomaly) should not have passed if those involved followed the processes and inspected the projects before releasing the funds.”

[In the news] IFJ: Massacre case still moving slowly under Noy-The Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor

The Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor.

Source: Tribune.net.ph

International media groups are asking why despite the change in leadership, the Maguindanao massacre case is still moving at a snail’s pace.

International press freedom organiza-tions, thus, called on President Aquino to direct his administration to provide the necessary resources and support to ensure the swift prosecution of suspects accused of murdering journalists and media workers in the celebrated case.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said it is already 500 days since the November 2009 massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, in Maguindanao.

Philippine and international organi-zations jointly expressed their outrage and deep concerns at the continuing delays in prosecuting key suspects in the massacre and other media killings in the Philippines, the IFJ said in a statement.

“The atrocity in Ampatuan Town, Maguindanao, on 23 November 2009 occurred in the context of a decades-long culture of impunity for violence against journalists and other human rights defenders in the Philippines,” the joint statement by the international partnership group said.

“President Aquino and his administration must show a firm commitment to end impunity by ensuring that perpetrators of violence against journalists are brought to justice,” it added.

Trials are under way for 52 defendants in the Maguindanao massacre. Among the total 195 charged, at least 83 suspects are in custody while more than 100 remain at large.

National and international journalists’ organizations and media groups are gravely concerned by alleged attempts to stall and subvert the judicial process, it said.

The IFJ identified such attempts as alleged offers of bribes to victims’ families, and intimidation and deadly violence against witnesses, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

One witness, known as Jesse, was killed in June 2010. A member of the Ampatuan family militia, whose leaders are among those accused of organising the massacre, Jesse was in the process of enrolling in the Justice Department’s witness protection program. He had given several press interviews detailing his role as one of the gunmen in the 2009 massacre.

Throughout 2010 and 2011, proceedings have been delayed as defense lawyers filed a series of motions, including efforts to remove the judge and prosecutors. The delays have added to the financial strain on witnesses and family members attending the hearings.

Further, prime suspect Zaldy Ampatuan has filed for a judicial review in the Philippine Court of Appeals. If the review favors him, Ampatuan will be removed from the list of accused, and released from detention in Manila, it said.

In March 2011, defense lawyers placed newspaper advertisements alleging that journalists’ organisations are hindering a fair trial for Zaldy Ampatuan by attempting to influence the court’s decision.

Meanwhile, Philippine advocates and international experts have raised concerns that prosecution of the case is hindered by flawed forensic work and lack of cooperation among law enforcement officials.

Reports that some accused are enjoying special privileges while in detention are also extremely disturbing.

The international partners urge the Aquino administration to provide all necessary resources and support to assist the Quezon City regional trial court, which has been assigned the Ampatuan Town massacre proceedings, to conduct hearings fairly and swiftly.

The IFJ said local groups representing journalists and media organisations have a right to freely express their concerns about the conduct of the case.