SC rules Zaldy included in Maguindanao massacre case

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2012 04:32 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2012 04:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the inclusion of detained former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan as an accused in the Maguindanao massacre case.

In a resolution by the Third Division dated June 25 but released to the media only today, the high court junked Ampatuan's petition for a reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in April affirming the Department of Justice's (DOJ) resolution dated May 5, 2010 that ordered Ampatuan's reinstatement in the criminal information for murder in several cases in connection with the brutal slay of 57 people, mostly journalists, on Nov. 23, 2009 in Ampatuan town.

"After a review of the records, the Court resolves to deny the petition for failure to show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in affirming the May 5, 2010 resolution of the Department of Justice that ordered the reinstatement of the criminal information for murder...," the one-page resolution read.

Ampatuan was charged for the murders along with his father, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan, Jr., brother Datu Unsay Mayor Andal, Jr.,  and 193 others.

The cases are now pending before a Quezon City trial court especially created to handle the cases.

The massacre was described by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) as the worst single deadliest event for journalists in history. Female members of the Mangudadatu clan were among the victims. The victims' convoy was en route to file the certificate of candidacy (COC) of then Maguindanao gubernatorial bet Esmael Mangudadatu when they were massacred by armed men  allegedly upon orders of the rival Ampatuan clan. Mangudadatu won in the elections.