Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the announcement of the arraignment of
Andal Ampatuan Sr., one of the main suspects in the Ampatuan Town Massacre of
58 people, including 32 journalists, on November 23, 2009.
Quezon City District Court Judge Jocelyn
Solis Reyes announced the June 1 arraignment of Ampatuan and nine other
suspects on May 27, IFJ affiliate the National Union
of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
reports. The announcement comes after lawyers representing Ampatuan, a former
governor of southern Philippine province Maguindanao, filed a motion on May 18
seeking his arraignment.
However, the IFJ shares concerns
expressed by the NUJP that another
21 suspects are yet to be arraigned, including five other members of the
Ampatuan clan, who are accused of plotting the massacre.
The scheduling of their arraignment
is dependent on the outcome of a motion which seeks to exclude them from the
list of suspects. The motion argues a lack of probable cause for their
involvement in the massacre and seeks the inhibition of Soils Reyes as the presiding
judge in the trial.
“The IFJ is encouraged by this
important milestone in the Ampatuan Massacre Trial, and hopes to see the
arraignment of all suspects proceed without further delay,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“We can only hope that the trial
continues to progress from this point on for the sake of the victims’
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
IFJ on Facebook here