Court order allowing Ampatuan to attend daughter’s wedding denounced
Families of journalists allegedly slaughtered by members of an influential Maguindanao clan in 2009 slammed on Wednesday a court order allowing one of the primary suspects to attend his daughter’s wedding.
Reynafe Momay-Castillo said she did not understand why the country had this kind of justice system. “I need a valid, full explanation from the public prosecutors,” she said.
She is the daughter of photojournalist Reynaldo Momay, who was among those killed at Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.
Zaldy Ampatuan, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, managed to get an order from Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes allowing him to attend the wedding at Sofitel Manila from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 21.
Ampatuan is one of the primary suspects in the Maguindanao massacre in which 58 people, including 33 journalists, were shot dead and hastily buried on Nov. 23, 2009.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday said government prosecutors had vigorously opposed the former governor’s motion for furlough, but the court granted the motion for humanitarian reasons.
The National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) also expressed grave concern that Ampatuan was allowed to leave his detention cell at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to attend the wedding.
The NUJP noted that no one had been convicted almost nine years after the massacre.
In Zamboanga City, families of the massacre victims said the Duterte administration seemed to be favoring criminals and human rights violators over the victims.
“[There were] thousands of poor inmates who can’t avail themselves of such privilege, but they could easily hand it down to the killers like Ampatuan,” said Emily Lopez, whose cousin Arturo Betia, a reporter for Periodico Ini, was killed in the massacre.
On Nov. 23, 2009, armed men gunned down and hacked to death 58 people in a convoy of supporters of gubernatorial aspirant Esmael Mangudadatu on their way to file his certificate of candidacy in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
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