The Manila Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld its August 2011 decision to deny the petition for certiorari filed by a primary accused in the Ampatuan massacre.
By quashing former Mamasapano town, Maguindanao mayor Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan Sr.’s motion on 3 January, the Court once again affirmed that he remains one of the accused in the massacre which killed 58 people on 23 November 2009.
“Finding no new matter of substance which would warrant the modification much less the reversal of the assailed Decision, petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED for lack of merit (emphasis by CMFR),” said the decision penned by Associate Justice Francisco Acosta at Manila CA’s former 16th Division. The other members are Associate Justices Vicente Velasco and Angelita Gacutan.
Tato Ampatuan filed a Motion for Reconsideration last 31 August 2011 after the appellate court denied his petition for certiorari against former Acting Justice Sec. Alberto Agra and families of the victims in the 23 November 2009 Massacre. Tato Ampatuan alleged that Agra acted with grave abuse of discretion when he ordered his re-inclusion in the list of accused in the multiple murder case.
According to a report by Inquirer, the Manila CA in its 18 August 2011 decision said “no reversible error (was) committed by the public respondents in finding probable cause to indict the petitioner for multiple murder.”
Tato Ampatuan is among the 196 persons charged with 57 counts of murder for allegedly planning and executing the killing of 58 persons including 32 journalists and media workers in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on 23 November 2009.
Almost two years have passed since the Massacre trial started but, as of press time, only 64 of the 196 alleged perpetrators have been arraigned. Of the 64, only two are members of the Ampatuan clan.
(Note: The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, Inc. [FFFJ] received a copy of the decision on 18 January 2012. CMFR is the secretariat of FFFJ.)
CMFR is a SEAPA founding member based in Manila, the Philippines, working to promote ethical journalism and to protect press freedom.