Court approves transfer of Zaldy Ampatuan to Philippine Heart Center

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 28, 2019   •   893

Datu ‘Zaldy’ Unsay Ampatuan

A Quezon City Court has approved the transfer of Maguindanao Massacre prime suspect, Datu ‘Zaldy’ Unsay Ampatuan, to the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).

Ampatuan has requested the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 to transfer him to the PHC from Taguig-Pateros District Hospital due to congestive heart failure.

The court said they allowed Ampatuan’s transfer because the PHC has the complete set of equipment for tests as well as previous records of his confinement.

“The court deems it proper to grant the relief being prayed for in the Motion that [Ampatuan] be transferred to the Philippine Heart Center where he has his medical records,” the court said.—AAC

Andanar on Maguindanao massacre case: Hoping for decision by November

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 6, 2019

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar hopes that there will be a decision on the Maguindanao massacre case by November.

“The court has already deemed the case as submitted for decision, and barring unforeseen circumstances, we are hoping for a decision by the 3rd week of November,” Andanar said in a statement.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a letter to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) on Tuesday (Sept 3) stating that the case has already been submitted for decision.

Andanar said the Duterte administration expects that justice will prevail for the victims of the massacre as well as their families.

“This is another addition to President Duterte’s legacy, that one of the most despicable acts against journalists in the history of the world will finally come to a close during his term,” he added.

READ: DOJ: Maguindanao massacre verdict out by November

Meanwhile, the PTFOMS said they will remain vigilant to ensure that there will be no more delays regarding the case.

“We will exhaust all means to help guard the sanctity of the judicial process in these crucial times, so that justice may finally be served in these cases,” according to PTFOMs executive director Presidential Communications Usec. Joel Egco.

This year will be the 10th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre that happened on November 23, 2009.

Fifty people were killed during the incident which includes 32 journalists.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DOJ: Maguindanao massacre verdict out by November

Marje Pelayo   •   August 9, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Journalism students of Bulacan State University light candles in commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre in front of Bulacan Capitol, Malolos City, Bulacan. Photo taken November 21, 2013. | PVI/Junnel Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) expects judgement to be rendered on the accused in the killing of 58 individuals in the gruesome massacre that happened in Maguindanao in November 2009.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the 10-year trial on the case was finally completed on July 17, 2019.

“The parties were given until 15 August 2019 to submit simultaneously their respective memorandum or written summation,” Guevarra said in a statement.

“After which the case shall be considered as submitted for decision, with or without the memoranda of the parties,” he added.

The DOJ then expects that a judgment will be rendered before the massacre’s 10th anniversary November 23, 2019.

“And that justice will finally be served,” the Justice Secretary said.

The judgement in November is expected to end the long wait for justice for the families of the victims of the gruesome crime.

Fifty people were killed in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao, including 32 journalists, four of them from UNTV. 

Some brutally shot, others buried alive in pits, while several bodies were left lying nearby in the massacre known as the single deadliest event for journalists in history. – MNP (with details from Mai Bermudez)

Another prosecution witness in Maguindanao massacre case flips statement

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 21, 2019

Another prosecution witness in Maguindanao massacre case has changed his previous statement saying he was only threatened to testify against the accused.

In 2011, Lagudin Alfonso testified in court with another eyewitness, Thonti Lawai.

Based on their previous statements, Alfonso and Lawai allegedly heard the accused, former governor, Andal Ampatuan Sr., order the killing of his political opponent, the Mangudadatus, and their convoy during the filing of the certificate of candidacy for the Maguindanao gubernatorial race on November 23, 2009.

They also supposedly heard gunshots during the day of the incident.

However, according to Alfonso’s new statement submitted to the court, he was not at the checkpoint where the victims were blocked before they were shot.

Alfonso said he was with Lawai. They were on their way to the house of a Rasul Sangki. He added that he also saw the other witnesses being forced to sign a document without knowing its contents.

“I was present when he was forced to sign the document. I was in fact also forced to sign a similar document. We were both forced to sign documents without knowing their contents. As for Thonti, that was the document he was forced to sign,” the judicial affidavit reads.

“Thonti and I, including our respective families were threatened that if we do not sign, we will be killed,” Alfonso added.

After signing, they were told they were going to testify in court in relation to the Maguindanao massacre. Alfonso claimed that Toto Mangudadatu, Rasul Sangki, and Mohamad Sangki were the individuals who forced them to testify against the accused.

Meanwhile, the victims’ legal counsel, Atty. Nena Santos said these witnesses were paid and the court will not believe their statements.

“Recantation nga alam mo naman sa law ang recantation ay hindi pinapaniwalaan ng husgado, (That is recantation. You know, in law, a judge will not believe in a recantation),” Atty. Santos said.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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