MANILA, Philippines - The government has failed to convince the Court of Appeals (CA) to reinstate rebellion charges against members of the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao province in connection with the massacre of 57 people, mostly journalists, in 2009.
In a 3-page resolution of the former Special Seventeenth Division penned by Associate Justice Elihu Ybanez, the appellate court dismissed government's plea through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for failure to raise new arguments that would warrant a reversal of the court's Dec. 15, 2011 ruling.
"After a careful and judicious evaluation of the arguments raised by petitioner People of the Philippines, we see no compelling reason to modify, reverse, or set aside our decision, the same being appositely supported by law and jurisprudence," the appellate court said.
The resolution stated that all arguments raised in government's plea had been duly considered and passed upon by the appellate court in its previous ruling.
In its Dec. 15, 2011 ruling, the appellate court junked the rebellion case against the Ampatuans, led by their patriarch, Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., for the Department of Justice's (DOJ) failure to prove its claim.
“There exists no probable cause to indict and hold under detention the accused for rebellion,” the appellate court said in the said ruling.
Also cleared of the charge are: former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, Datu Anwar Ampatuan, Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan, Datu Akmad Tato Ampatuan, and their allies: Akmad Abdullah Ulilisen, Kusain Akmad Sakilan, Duca Lendungan Amban, Jovel Vista Lopez, Rommy Gimba Mamay, Sammy Duyo Villanueva, Ibrahim Tukya Abdulkadir, Samil Manalao Mindo, Goldo Ampatuan, Amaikugao Obab Dalgan, Billy Cabaya Gabriel Jr., Abdulla Kaliangat Ampatuan, Moneb Samir Ibrahim, Umpa Ugka Yarya, Dekay Idra Ulama, Kapid Gabriel Cabaya, Koka Batong Managilid, Sammy Ganda Macabuat and Manding Abdulkadir.
They, however, will remain in jail due to the pendency of multiple murder raps in connection with the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre.