5 Maguindanao massacre suspects want to vote
Five of the 76 accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre have asked a Quezon City court to direct the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to allow their registration as voters, and possibly run for posts, in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Datu Anwar Ampatuan Jr., Nasser Esmael, Nicomedes Amad Tolentino, Bulatukan Omar Kayansang and Datutulon Malaguial Esmail asked Quezon City trial court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, who is handling the massacre case, to issue a writ of execution in connection with their voters’ registration.
In their motion, the five stressed that their detention “did not disqualify them from registering, voting and possibly running as candidates in the ARMM.”
They are “not deemed to have lost their original residences in the ARMM by the mere fact of their detention at the Quezon City Jail Annex in Taguig City.”
They rejected suggestions that they register and vote in Taguig City. “The Comelec cannot interfere in the exercise of the right of choice of the accused by requiring them against their will to register in Taguig and vote for some Taguig candidate whom the accused do not even know… This is not what we call free and honest elections but authoritarianism in the highest order.”
Meanwhile, two more kin of slain victims were presented at the continuation of the Maguindanao massacre trial.
Bereaved mother Nancy de la Cruz and widow Corazon Cabillo demanded damages for the loss of their kin, in addition to the criminal prosecution of the suspects.
In Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Solis-Reyes also set the arraignment of two recently arrested suspects, bringing the number of arrests to 102.
Set to be arraigned Thursday are Datu Jimmy Ampatuan and PO1 Michael Madsig.
The arraignment of newly-captured suspect Anwar Sajid “Datu Ulo” Ampatuan has been deferred. With Jaymee T. Gamil
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