The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins
its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of
the Philippines (NUJP)
in voicing concerns over further potential delays to the Ampatuan Town Massacre
trials in the Philippines.
Abbas, a lawyer for one of the key suspects in the massacre, suspended
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, has
reportedly proposed his client be eligible for “hospital arrest”, after being
admitted to the Philippine Heart Center for a medical checkup.
will be held indefinitely at the medical facility while tests are conducted,
despite reports that his condition was stabilising. Lawyer Harry Roque, representing
some of the massacre victims’ families, has raised concerns about a “high-risk”
detainee such as Ampatuan being held indefinitely in a low-security
environment, according to local media reports.
journalists and media workers were among the 58 people killed in the massacre,
in the southern Philippines province of Maguindanao on November 23, 2009.
not yet been arraigned in the massacre trials, because of a case in the Court of
Appeals, where he sought to be excluded from the group of 197 people charged
with 57 counts of murder. The body of one further victim, Reynaldo “Bebot”
Momay, has not been found.
admission to the Heart
Center comes just two
weeks after heconfirmed he waswilling to testify against his father, Andal
Ampatuan Sr, and brother Andal Ampatuan Jr.
Philippines Justice Secretary Leila de Lima rejected his offer to be a state
hopes that full security measures will be enforced for Zaldy Ampatuan’s
hospital detention and that he will be returned to a high-security facility
without unnecessary delay,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
families of the massacre victims, this is yet another frustrating turn of
events in the trials, which have been marred by a series of seemingly
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