Binay supports mayoralty bid of Sajid Ampatuan
Vice President Jejomar Binay has stood by his endorsement of the candidacy of Sajid Islam Ampatuan who is out on bail from murder charges over the grisly 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
In an interview with reporters in North Fairview, Quezon City, on Thursday, Binay said he was supporting Ampatuan’s bid for Shariff Aguak mayor under United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Binay said Ampatuan was granted bail by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court because the evidence against him proved to be weak.
“Inendorso ko sya. ’Yong batang ’yon, ’yong mayor na ’yon, limang taon na nakulong ’yon. At batay sa mga ebidensya, binigyan sya ng piyansa. Pagka-binigyan sya ng piyansa, mahina ang ebidensya,” Binay said.
“At sang-ayon sa naririnig ko doon, siya lang talaga ang wala sa lugar na iyon sa mga oras na iyon,” he added.
In 2015, Ampatuan was ordered released after paying P11.6-million bail or P200,000 for each of the 58 counts of murder filed against him for the death of 58 persons, including 32 journalists, who were gunned down by his family’s alleged private army and buried in a shallow grave on a hilltop in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, on Nov. 23, 2009.
READ: Ampatuan out on bail
The massacre came to be known as the single deadliest attack on journalists and the worst election-related violence in the country.
Son of the late Maguindanao Gov. Andal Sr., he is the first Ampatuan to be out on bail. The Ampatuan patriarch died of a heart attack in July 2015.
During his campaign rally in Maguindanao on Tuesday, Binay raised the hands of Ampatuan in support of his mayoralty bid in Shariff Aguak, a stronghold of the Ampatuans.
Ampatuan’s brothers who are still detained over their alleged involvement in the massacre are former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy, former Shariff Aguak Mayor Anwar Sr., and former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Jr.
UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan said the Vice President endorsed the candidacy of Ampatuan because the party’s gubernatorial bet in Maguindanao Datu Ali Midtimbang backed him. RC
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