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Roque doubts reversal of judgment as Ampatuans appeal guilty verdict

/ 05:50 PM January 03, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyer Harry Roque, who represents a number of Maguindanao massacre victims’ families, remains unfazed despite the Ampatuan clan’s move to appeal their guilty verdict.

“That’s their right even if I doubt that the appellate court will disturb the finding of fact that they are murderers,” Roque said in a statement on Friday.

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Former Datu Unsay town Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. had decided to take the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC) to the Court of Appeals while former Shariff Aguak Mayor Datu Anwar Ampatuan Sr., and his sons Anwar Jr. and Anwar Sajid, opted to file a motion for reconsideration before the Quezon City court.

Higher damage fees sought

Roque said they will also seek for higher damage fees for 17 of the victims’ families, saying that the “damages awarded should be substantially more.”

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“For instance, moral damages should not just be 100,000 given the state of the remains of the victims loved ones when they identified them at the crime scene,” Roque said.

“Civil indemnity should be more than 100,000 as human lives should cost more than this. And exemplary damages should be more than 100,000 to send the message that the State will not tolerate the killing of journalists,” he added.

No to another ‘posh’ hospital confinement

In an urgent motion dated December 23, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, through his counsel, has asked the QCRTC’s permission to allow his stay at the New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP) infirmary, citing health reasons.

The former governor was also among those convicted in the infamous multiple murder case.

But Roque said doctors should determine if Zaldy indeed needs medical assistance.

“If so, Muntinlupa is very well equipped to care for him. What we will object to is another hospital confinement in a posh private hospital,” Roque said.

Zaldy was hospitalized last year after suffering a stroke and stayed at the Makati Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit up to October 29, 2019.

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Zaldy was later transferred to a regular room before he was ordered transferred back to Camp Bagong Diwa for the promulgation of the case.

Edited by KGA

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