2 more suspects in Maguindanao massacre arraigned

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Two more accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, including a former town councilor, pleaded not guilty on Monday to 57 counts of murder in a Quezon City court.

Manny Upam Ampatuan, former Sangguniang Bayan member of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town and nephew of former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., and Maot Bangkulat, aka Benjie Dagindingan, were arraigned in Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 presided over by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.

Based on court records, the two were the 91st and 92nd persons arraigned in the case. They join 193 other accused in the Nov. 23, 2009, killing of 57 persons, including 32 media workers, in Sitio (settlement) Masalay, Barangay (village) Salman, Ampatuan town, Maguindanao.

Of the 195 accused, 105 have been arrested, including former Sultan sa Borongis Vice Mayor Sukarno Badal who recently turned state’s evidence.

At Monday’s arraignment, Ampatuan was assisted by lawyer Z19 Javier while Bangkulat was represented by lawyer Laguindab Marohombsar of the Public Attorney’s Office for the purpose of the proceedings where both denied involvement in the massacre.

Bangkulat was arrested on April 8 by agents of the ARMM-based Regional Intelligence Office 15 of the Philippine National Police in Datu Montawal town, Maguindanao.

Ampatuan, who was already in detention, was ordered arraigned by Reyes last week after she denied his request for a reinvestigation and determination of probable cause.

Reyes dismissed Ampatuan’s motion for lack of merit. She said a reinvestigation was baseless since the arguments raised by Ampatuan were matters that must be presented at the trial.

In his motion, Ampatuan had argued that there was no evidence to show his participation in the massacre. A witness, however, has claimed that he was among the men who brought the victims to the massacre site. This testimony was raised by the prosecution to oppose the motion.

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  • $14141131

    I wonder why Aquino is not interested in expediting the world-watched Ampatuan massacre case. He is giving money to the leeches in the squatters areas but not a cent of support for the impoverished complainants in their quest for justice in the barbarian murder.

    • curatolo

      He is to busy making sure that his 12 candidates for Senator wins. Probably quest for justice for the Ampatuan Massacre victims is not his priority. Baka mas importante yung manalo sila.

      • $14141131

        Aquino has the P45 Billion CCT fund for his campaign. That’s how stupid his programs are, prioritizing the non-economy related dole-outs over the economic stimulus thrusts.

  • curatolo

    To Jeannette Andrade, former Vice Mayor Sukarno Badal, turned state witness, not state evidence.

  • disqusted0fu

    4 years and counting, this mass murder case is still nowhere near its closure. Worse, the prime suspects are still enjoying their freedom because of their relationship with the Aquino administration. In this administration, only KKKs deserve justice.

  • askal2u

    well, as long they are in prison and the rest can get caught and put to prison, we can slow the process for another century so that they languish more in prison while waiting to be indicted.

  • Ako_Hiking

    A term for a Philippine President is 6 years. It is looking more that the country and the victims and their families of the Maguindanao massacre will not see any conviction and justice during Aquino’s time in office.

    • $14141131

      Let’s hope some prisoners will be bothered by their conscience and run rampage to cut the throats of the demons now on a holiday inside the jails.

      • Ako_Hiking

        To survive as a thriving society due process must be adhered to. The best scenario here would be if those masterminds and those involved in this tragic massacre were to be convicted of the crimes that they committed. But it seems the Philippine government has more important issues to deal with at the moment…like campaigning.

  • nano

    How long the family of victims of Ampatuans ,barbarian act wait for justice . From 193 accused the 91st and 92nd just arraigned.How many years they need to arraigned all of them?

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