The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is concerned that one of the main accused in the multiple murder case filed during the Ampatuan massacre on November 23, 2009, may leave the detention to participate in a social event on Tuesday, August 21 2018.
This was only learned by Basilan Rep. Ruby Shahli who posted a photo of herself on social media with former ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan.
The caption read: "Alhamdulilla with my former boss former RG Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan during the wedding ceremony of his eldest daughter Bai Nur Aila."
Rep. Shahali also posted a video of the wedding, which she indicated was being held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel.
While we may understand the desire of a parent to be present at such an important milestone in the life of a child, we emphasize that the crime of which Ampatuan is accused is so horrific in nature that it was the shock and indignation that world forced President Gloria Arroyo to move against the powerful clan who was with her most loyal allies.
Almost nine years after the disaster that cost the lives of 58 people, including 32 media workers, no one has been convicted. But a main suspect, Sajid Ampatuan, got bail. That and now, we feel, gives us and the families of the victims more than any reason to worry about whether we can really expect justice for these worst crimes.
We all know that most people accused of less serious offenses will almost never get a privilege because Zaldy Ampatuan has allowed this. What made him an exception to the rule?
Certainly, his camp should petition the court well in advance. Where were the prosecutors in all this? Have they disputed the petiton? Perhaps even more respectful, did they even inform the families of the victims and other parties in the case?
At the very least, the Prosecution owes the public a full report and a credible statement.
NUJP National Directorate