2 Ampatuans’ plea for freedom nixed
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has rejected the appeal of two prominent members of the Ampatuan clan to quash the multiple murder charges against them in the Maguindanao massacre case.
Justice Undersecretary Leah Tanodra-Armamento junked the appeal of Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan and Datu Saudi Ampatuan Jr. after they failed to impeach the accounts of two witnesses which placed them at the planning and execution of the massacre which left 57 people dead.
Sajid, a son of Ampatuan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., and Saudi, a grandson of the patriarch, had petitioned for a review of a DOJ resolution finding probable cause to charge them as principals in the massacre.
“In light of the evidence on record vis-a-vis the issues and arguments raised in the petition, there is no cogent reason to deviate from, modify or reverse the assailed joint resolution, which is in accord with law and pertinent jurisprudence,” Armamento said.
Armamento pointed out that government witnesses Rasul Sangki and Kenny Dalandag had told investigators that the two Ampatuans were present when the massacre was planned on Nov. 22, 2009, and on the following day, when the victims were killed.
“We find no compelling reason to brush aside the clear and categorical testimony of Dalandag implicating both respondent-assailants in the grand design to finish off everyone, children, women and all who were a party to the Mangudadatu convoy,” Armamento said.
Saudi denied any participation in the crime, saying that Sangki and Dalandag were “incredible” witnesses.
He said Sangki could not have seen him on the day of the massacre because “during the whole morning, (the witness) was at the Maguindanao provincial capitol awaiting the endorsement letter” on the partition of Parang, Maguindanao. He said he had three witnesses to prove his claim.
Saudi added that he also could not have been at the supposed meeting on the night of Nov. 22 as he had “left for Davao at 6 p.m. and returned to Shariff Aguak at 11 p.m.” Philip C. Tubeza
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