Quantcast
Latest Stories

Sen. Arroyo: Focus on massacre brains


Senator Joker Arroyo. PHOTO BY MATIKAS SANTOS

Senator Joker Arroyo on Sunday said state prosecutors should focus on the “masterminds” behind the Maguindanao massacre rather than go after all the 200 suspects, most of whom were simply followers of the Ampatuan clan, and risk prolonging the “trial of the century” for over a hundred years.

In a radio interview, Arroyo said the prosecution should also consider asking Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to concentrate on trying the principal suspects in the killings of 58 people on Nov. 23, 2009, and hold daily hearings to expedite the process.

Tagged as the brains behind the mass murder were former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., his sons Andal Jr.,  a former town mayor, and Zaldy, the former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The three are detained, along with several other relatives.

Arroyo told dzBB that these actions were better than the broad clamor for a live coverage of the trial, which he feared would only prolong the proceedings as the lawyers would then be more conscious of their public image.

“It should just go after the principal defendants so they will be sentenced for their crimes. Every crime has a mastermind, most of those involved were just ‘sabit’ (lackeys). Focus on the big ones; there will be more delays if you mix in the little ones,” he said.

“Most of the defendants were only doing what they were ordered to do. It’s obvious that this case involved a mastermind. It’s a conspiracy, and this was not done by chance.”

Arroyo warned two years ago that prosecuting 200 respondents would inevitably drag the case to 200 years considering that each of them has the right to cross-examine the 100 state witnesses proffered by the prosecution team.

Of the 195 people accused in the massacre, 103 have been arrested and the rest are at large.

Backhoe operator

The Philippine National Police announced that Bong Andal, the alleged operator of the backhoe used to dig mass graves for the victims, was arrested over the weekend.

“The arrest of Andal and other suspects now in custody manifests the firm resolve of the PNP to arrest and prosecute all suspects behind the mass murder,” PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome said Sunday.

Based on his experience as a human rights lawyer during the martial law years, Arroyo said that cases involving hundreds of defendants did not get resolved even in the “court-martial setting,” which was a “short cut” of trials in regular courts.

“There was no conviction throughout martial law. All the cases we handled were not resolved before Edsa I,” he said, referring to the 1986 People Power Revolution. “There was no conviction. That is why when I heard they were filing a case against 200, I asked myself, How can this end?”

Live media coverage

Arroyo concurred with the Supreme Court ruling issued on Oct. 23 barring live coverage of the trial.

“The attention of the lawyers will be divided on the merits of the case itself and how they will look on TV. Lawyers tend to make longer sentences if there is a live coverage. So, let’s balance the advantages and disadvantages. We should have more faith in the judiciary,” he said.

But the Aquino administration is pursuing on-spot reports by radio and TV networks of the trial.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she would meet the prosecutors tomorrow to discuss, among other things, President Aquino’s call for a live media broadcast of the trial.

Malacañang last week said the absence of cameras in the courtroom was giving the impression that the administration was doing nothing for the massacre victims. It said the broadcast would make the people aware of what is going on in the case.

Also on Sunday, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) denied reports that a relative of the Ampatuans was hiding in an area controlled by the rebel group.

Von al-Haq, spokesperson of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said in a phone interview that the group was not providing shelter to Bahnarin “Datu Ban” Ampatuan, one of the primary suspects in the massacre.

“These suspects are native inhabitants of Maguindanao and it so happen that it is an MILF-dominated area, but it would not mean that the suspects are mingling with us,” Al-Haq said. With reports from Gil C. Cabacungan, Marlon Ramos, Christine O. Avendaño and Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Ampatuans , Crime , election violence , Government , Joker Arroyo , Justice , law , Maguindanao massacre , Media killings , Senate




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Cagayan mayor shot dead after flag-raising ceremony
  3. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  6. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  7. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  8. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  9. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  10. More bodies from ship; transcript reveals wavering
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Saudi Arabia reports 3 more deaths from MERS virus
  • Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  • Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?
  • Napoles to have surgery on Tuesday – report
  • Mayor’s assassination linked to black sand mining controversy
  • Sports

  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement