Palace confident Ampatuan massacre suspects will be arrested

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace confident Ampatuan massacre suspects will be arrested
This handout photo from the Supreme Court - Public Information Office (SC-PIO) taken and released on December 19, 2019 shows Andal Ampatuan Jnr (front L) and others accused of involvement in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre waiting to hear the court's verdict at the trial venue inside a prison facility in Manila. The masterminds of the Philippines' worst political massacre were found guilty on December 19 of murdering 57 people, a rare conviction of powerful personalities in a country notorious for its culture of impunity.

MANILA, Philippines — As the nation commemorated the 11th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, Malacañang expressed confidence that the suspects in the worst case of election violence and deadliest single attack on the press who remain at large would be arrested. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque noted that while members of the Ampatuan clan are now behind bars, other suspects are still free. 

"Justice has been achieved under the Duterte administration. At least the Ampatuan brothers are in jail. This is still justice for the victims and the families of those who died. People who planned the Maguindanao massacre have been found guilty," Roque, a former counsel of some of the massacre victims, said at a press briefing Monday.

"There are suspects who are still at large, but they will be caught and they will be held to account before the law. We will never forget," he added. 

At least 57 people, including 32 media practitioners, were killed during the 2009 massacre, which prompted former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to impose martial law in Maguindanao. The victims were on their way to a local elections office to witness the filing of the certificate of candidacy for then Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu when they were flagged and killed by armed men in Ampatuan town. 

Last year, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court sentenced 28 people, including Datu Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan, Jr., Zaldy Ampatuan, and Datu Anwar, Sr. to a maximum of 40 years in prison for the massacre. Fifty six people, most of them police officers, were acquitted.



As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 18, 2020 - 2:39pm

The Maguindanao massacre is the world’s deadliest attack on journalists, 32 of the 58 victims in the massacre were members of the press. 

March 18, 2020 - 2:39pm

Another state witness in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre survived an ambush in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao on Tuesday.

The incident came just three months after the vice mayor of the same municipality was seriously wounded in a similar attack.

Muhammad Sangki and four companions were together in a van when gunmen shot at them with assault rifles in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

The scene of the ambush is a short distance from the Maguindanao provincial hospital and the provincial police office.

The 56-year-old Sangki was one of the witnesses in the trial over the gruesome politically-motivated murder of 58 people in nearby Ampatuan town on November 23, 2009.

Sangki and his companions survived the attack unscathed.— The STAR/John Unson 


January 22, 2020 - 12:24pm

A policeman implicated in the 2009 massacre of 58 people in Ampatuan, Maguindanao surrendered on Tuesday.

PO1 Ysmael Baraguir—under the new Philippine National Police rank system, the equivalent rank is patrolman—yielded to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Bangsamoro Region after 10 years in hiding.

He surrendered through the intercession of local officials and of Police Col. James Gulmatico, chief of the CIDG for the Bangsamoro region.

CIDG agents fetched Baraguir from an interior area in Pagalungan town in Maguindanao on Tuesday night.

He is now in the custody of the CIDG. —The STAR/John Unson

January 3, 2020 - 5:22pm

Datu Zaldy Ampatuan, former regional governor, appeals conviction by filing notice of appeal before Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221,  which found him guilty of 57 counts of murder in December last year.

Zaldy will directly appeal the verdict to the Court of Appeals. — via Janvic Mateo, The STAR

January 2, 2020 - 5:28pm

Former Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao Mayor Anwar Ampatuan Sr. and his sons Anwar Jr. and Anwar Sajid appeal guilty verdict in Ampatuan Massacre case, The STAR's Janvic Mateo reports.

December 19, 2019 - 2:46pm

Although the guilty verdict on the massacre is welcome, members of the National Union of Journalists in the Philipines-Baguio and Benguet say all involved in the Nov.23, 2009 killings should be “brought to the bar of justice”.

"Justice will only be fully served when all of those involved and responsible are brought to the bar of justice," they say.

"But then this is just partial justice because many of the accused were acquitted while 80 more accused remain at large," NUJP-Baguio Benguet says, noting that “still impunity continues to reign that emboldens perpetrators and masterminds of gruesome attacks against journalists and the people knowing that they can escape unscathed.” — The STAR / Artemio Dumlao


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