Palace dismayed over Ampatuan’s wedding leave
Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte was dismayed that Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the principal accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, was allowed by a court to leave jail to attend his daughter’s wedding.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said state prosecutors, as well as Mr. Duterte, had opposed the motion of Ampatuan’s lawyers asking the court to allow Ampatuan to attend his daughter Kristina’s wedding, which was held in a posh hotel in Pasay City on Tuesday.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday said government prosecutors had opposed the motion of the former governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao for the furlough, but the court granted the motion for humanitarian reasons.
“We’re dismayed it was granted,” Roque said.
“I can assure you this will not affect the case and I think you know why I can give that assurance,” said Roque, who once served as a lawyer for some of the victims’ families.
Ampatuan is facing multiple murder charges in connection with the killing of 58 people, including 32 media men, in Maguindanao in 2009.
Families of the journalists killed slammed the court order.
Three senior Duterte administration officials who were listed as among the principal sponsors said they did not attend the wedding.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said he was requested by the Samama family to be a godparent to the couple.
“But I had graciously excused myself from attending because of prior engagement,” Medialdea said in a statement.
Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza, who had negotiated the surrender of the Ampatuans following the massacre, said he did not attend the wedding because he was in Davao City.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said he did not get any wedding invitation.
The list of 60 principal sponsors also included former Vice President Jejomar Binay, and his daughter, Makati Mayor Abigail Binay-Campos, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and Mr. Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and other regional and local officials.
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