International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in welcoming a Court of Appeals decision rejecting
the exclusion from trial of one of the main suspects in the Ampatuan Town
Ampatuan, a key suspect in the massacre of 58 people, including 32 media
workers, on November 23, 2009 in Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines, filed
a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Court of Appeals in relation to
the charges against him.
petition concerned a decision by Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra in April
2010 which found no probable cause for Ampatuan to be considered a suspect in
the massacre case. Agra
later overturned the decision following a public outcry by families of the
massacre victims and press freedom activists.
Court of Appeals ruling on November 8, the NUJP
says “there is no longer any reason to further delay the
indictment” of Ampatuan and his co-accused.
two years after the worst atrocity ever committed against media workers, the
victims’ families, colleagues and press freedom defenders eagerly await justice
for those brutally murdered in the massacre,” IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
sincerely hopes that proceedings in these trials can now be allowed to continue
of the 197 suspects in the massacre have been frustrated by Zaldy Ampatuan’s
appeal and a request
for a transfer to “hospital
arrest”, after being admitted to the Philippine Heart Center for a medical
In July, Philippines
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima rejected Zaldy
Ampatuan’s offer to act as a state witness and testify against his alleged
co-conspirators. Ampatuan, the suspended governor of
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), sought to beremoved
from the list of suspects in exchange for testimony against his father,
Andal Ampatuan Sr, and brother Andal Ampatuan Jr.
joins the NUJP in calling for the
prompt arraignment of Zaldy Ampatuan and all other suspects awaiting
indictment. Only 93 of the 197 suspects are in custody, and to date only 64
have been arraigned. Of the six members of the Ampatuan
clan accused as principals, only two – Andal Sr. and Andal Jr. – have been
The NUJP and other press freedom groups in the Philippines will stage several events to commemorate
the second anniversary of the massacre on November 23, including a march to Mendiola,
near Malacañang Presidential Palace in Manila.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific