Latest Stories

Sellout? Kin of 14 Maguindanao massacre victims ask for P50M to settle case

By , Niña P. Calleja

Relatives of 14 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre nearly dropped the murder charges they had brought against members of the Ampatuan clan because of the slowness of the government in compensating them, lawyer Harry Roque said on Monday.

Roque, chairman of the Center for International Law and lawyer for some of the relatives of the 58 victims of the Maguindanao massacre, wrote in his blog that the government’s failure to pay compensation to the families of the victims, whose right to life it had failed to protect and promote, had made the relatives consider settling with the Ampatuans.

“Fifty million. That was the demand of my clients who are willing to settle,” Roque said in a telephone interview with the Inquirer.

In his blog, Roque said his clients signed a “written authority” sometime in February for a third party close to the Ampatuans to negotiate a settlement.

Negotiator killed

But the negotiations for a settlement fell through because the negotiator for the relatives was killed two weeks after the signing of the authorization, Roque said in the phone interview.

“Under this scheme, the [relatives] were to sign not just a waiver and quit claims, but also an affidavit [in which they would pin] the blame for the massacre on [Maguindanao Gov. Esmail] ‘Toto’ Mangudadatu,” Roque said.

He said it was learning about his clients’ attempt to settle that prompted him to seek redress in the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC).

“On the occasion of the 43rd-month commemoration of the [Maguindanao] massacre, [the victims’ families] will resort to a filing of a communication with the United Nations Human Rights Committee for the Philippine government’s failure to accord the victims their rights to an adequate remedy under domestic law and compensation,” Roque wrote in his blog.

Roque cited two cases—the death of Philippine Navy Ensign Philip Andrew Pestaño and the killing of Eden Marcella—in which the UNHRC had declared the Philippine government owed the victims.

No end in sight

“It’s been almost four years and there is still no end in sight to the criminal prosecution of the Ampatuans,” Roque said.

He noted that it took the government almost four years to file the information for the 58th victim, journalist Reynaldo Momay.

“This should give us a clue to how long the criminal proceedings will take,” Roque said.

Close to 200 people, among them Andal Ampatuan Sr., former governor of Maguindanao province, are being tried for the killing of 58 people, 32 of them journalists, on Nov. 23, 2009.

Two of Ampatuan’s sons—Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan—are among the accused.

The killings were allegedly carried out to stop Mangudadatu from contesting the 2010 gubernatorial election in Maguindanao.

Criminal aspect

Mangudadatu, who won the election, lost his wife and several relatives in the massacre, the worst case of political violence in Philippine election history.

Hearing about the failed negotiations for a settlement Monday, Mangudadatu said he hoped the “criminal aspect of the case would not be affected.”

“I have not spoken to Attorney Roque. Assuming it’s true, on our part nothing has changed, because I have not lost hope. We will continue seeking justice,” Mangudadatu told the Inquirer by phone.

Roque said that had it proceeded, the settlement would clear the Ampatuans of only their civil liabilities.

“But the accused want the relatives to execute an affidavit saying that Governor Mangudadatu was to blame for the massacre. So in that way they want the criminal lialibity to be passed on to Mangudadatu,” he said.

How Mangudadatu could be held criminally liable for the massacre in which he lost his wife and some relatives, Roque said he did not know.

He said he had plans of going to Maguindanao to gather more information on the supposed settlement and what happened to the negotiator.

Government duty

But one thing is clear to him. “The 14 relatives are willing to enter into a settlement,” he said.

“Unless the Philippine government complies with its duty to pay compensation, the victims will continuously be tempted with schemes that may eventually cause a miscarriage of justice,” Roque said.

He said the government’s duty to compensate the victims of the massacre is different from civil damages in court.

“Compensation is due to the victims because the state breached its obligation to protect and promote their right to live. This includes not just monetary compensation, but also all that may be required to restore the emotional and psychological well-being of the victims,” Roque said.

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: Harry Roque , Maguindanao massacre , Philippines , Rights and justice , settlement

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
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  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. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • Marketplace