Judicial order allowing Ampatuan to attend his daughter's wedding



Families of journalists who were reportedly slaughtered by members of an influential Maguindanao clan struck a court order in 2009 that allowed one of the main suspects to attend his daughter's wedding.

Reynafe Momay-Castillo said she did not understand why the country had this kind of legal system. "I need a valid, complete explanation from the prosecutors," she said.

She is the daughter of photojournalist Reynaldo Momay, who was one of the victims in Barangay Salman in Ampatuan.

Zaldy Ampatuan, former governor of the autonomous region in Mindanao, managed to get an order from Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, allowing him to attend the wedding at Sofitel Manila from 4:00 PM. until 19:00 on 21 August.

Ampatuan is one of the main suspects of the Maguindanao massacre, in which 58 people, including 33 journalists, were shot and hastily buried on November 23, 2009.

Powerfully opposed

Justice Minister Menardo Guevarra said on Wednesday that prosecutors strongly opposed the motion of the former governor to leave, but the court approved the motion for humanitarian reasons.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) was also very concerned that Ampatuan was allowed to leave his detention cell at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to attend the wedding.

The NUJP noted that no one had been convicted for nearly nine years after the massacre.

In the city of Zamboanga, families of the slaughter parties said that the Duterte government favored criminals and human rights violators against the victims.

"[There were] thousands of poor prisoners who can not use such privilege, but they can easily hand it over to the murderers like Ampatuan, "said Emily Lopez, whose cousin Arturo Betia, a reporter for Periodico Ini, was killed during the massacre.

On November 23, 2009, armed men shot down and killed 58 people in a convoy of supporters of the gubernatorial aspirant Esmael Mangudadatu on his way to submit his certificate of candidacy in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

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