Zaldy Ampatuan seeks permission to attend son’s graduation in Cotabato City

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Zaldy Ampatuan AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Former governor Zaldy Ampatuan, an accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case, is asking permission to travel to Cotabato City to attend the graduation of his eldest son.

In a two-page pleading, Ampatuan, who is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, urged a Quezon City court to allow him a few hours to be with his son.

Ampatuan added that he is willing to post a travel bond with the amount to be set by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221.

The former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said he wished to attend the graduation of his son, Prince Sufri Norabbie Amapatuan, 19, at the Albert Einstein School in Cotabato City on Mar. 24.

Ampatuan filed the motion Wednesday morning, asking that the court set it for hearing on Mar. 11.

“Accused has no intention to escape incarceration or this court’s jurisdiction and he has every intention to prove that the accusation(s) against him are without basis in fact and law,” he said through his lawyer Ashlin Clint Co.

The former governor is one of 195 accused in the grisly killing of 58 people—including 32 media workers and several female relatives of incumbent Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu—in Ampatuan town on Nov. 23, 2009.

Ampatuan said his son, an officer of the school’s government, will also be given an award for leadership. He promised to return immediately after the commencement exercises.

“Accused, why by his incarceration did not cease to be a good father of the family, seeks this court’s permission to attend and travel for the graduation of his eldest son and to return immediately thereafter using the fastest means of transportation available,” the accused said in his motion.

Ampatuan also pledged to shoulder all the travel, board and lodging expenses of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology who will escort him.

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