Zaldy Ampatuan back in jail a day before verdict on massacre case

A guard patrols the perimeter fence of the maximum security jail at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig in this file photo.

Walter Bollozos, file

Zaldy Ampatuan back in jail a day before verdict on massacre case

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - December 18, 2019 - 2:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the primary suspects in the Maguindanao massacre, has been brought back to detention in Taguig City, a day before the decade-long trial ends.

A report from state-run PTV4 said that Ampatuan was brought back to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City at 2:16 in the afternoon.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes ordered Ampatuan returned to jail earlier this week as she denied the accused’s request to remain at the Makati Medical Center.

Ampatuan had been confined in the Makati hospital since October after suffering a stroke. He has been receiving physical and occupational therapy at the hospital.

Prosecutors wanted Ampatuan be brought back in jail before promulgation of the case, saying that his confinement at the hospital “may provide him all the opportunity for convenient escape.”

“The prosecution panel, therefore, is of the view that accused Zaldy Ampatuan would do any last ditch move towards his liberty, be it resorting to his act of taking flight,” they said in a Manifestation filed before the court.

Reyes, in her ruling, said that Ampatuan can undergo rehabilitation while in detention.

“The court finds that there is no longer any need for accused-movant to remain in hospital as the procedure during rehabilitation session can be done to him as an out-patient,” Reyes said.

Verdict on December 19

Reyes will issue her ruling on the decade-old case on Thursday morning, more than 10 years since the brutal killings dubbed as the single deadliest attack against journalists in the world.

A decade ago, 58 people, including 32 media workers, were killed in broad daylight and dumped into roadside pits during an attack.

They were on their way to the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao to witness the filing of the certificate of candidacy of then-gubernatorial candidate Esmael Mangudadatu.

Mangudadatu, then vice mayor of Buluan town, lost his wife, sisters and other relatives in the massacre.

Zaldy Ampatuan and Datu Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr. are the primary accused in the case. Datu Sajid Islam Amaptuan was allowed to post bail in 2015 and was elected mayor of Shariff Saydona Mustapha town in May. 

RELATED: Sandiganbayan affirms Sajid Islam Ampatuan’s graft conviction

Ampatuan patriach Andal Sr. died in July 2015. 

The Human Rights Watch urged Philippine authorities to arrest 80 suspects who remain at large, including 15 of the Ampatuan clan, stressing that the families of the massacre will be at risk.  — Kristine Joy Patag with report from Agence France-Presse

AMPATUAN MASSACRE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE ZALDY AMPATUAN
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