MANILA, Philippines - Because of great shame, the family of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Zaldy Ampatuan no longer want to use what they call the much-dreaded surname.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News’ Anthony Taberna inside his prison cell, Zaldy said his four children have already filed petitions before the courts to have their surname changed.
“Kung sa probinsiya ng Maguindanao, sa Davao, pag sinabing Ampatuan, kahit walang kinalaman, kahit yung mga batang maliliit na Ampatuan, damay talaga pag sinasabing Ampatuan. Kaano-ano mo yung nasa Maguindanao Massacre?” he said.
(From Maguindanao, even in Davao, if you say Ampatuan, even if he/she is innocent, even the Ampatuan children, they're also shamed. People will ask them: are you related to those involved in the Maguindanao massacre?)
His children, 22-year-old Bai Nor Aila Kristina, 18-year-old Prince Sufri Norabbie, 14-year-old Bai Noraldy and 9-year-old Datu Zaldy Nurhassan Jr. would rather use the last name of their mother, “Mintimbang”.
He said he and his wife will next disown the Ampatuan name before the courts.
“Unang-una, hindi ko naman ikinahihiya ang pagiging isang Ampatuan. Yung Ampatuan naman na matanda wala namang kinalaman yan e, yung ninuno naming Ampatuan. Masakit man tanggapin, masakit man isipin na papalitan mo, pero dahil yun ay isang bagay na kailangan dapat tanggapin mo," Zaldy said.
("First of all, I am not ashamed to be an Ampatuan. Our Ampatuan forerunners do not have anything to do with this. Although it's hard to accept this, I am sad to have to disown the name, but I have to),” Zaldy said.
It has been almost six months since Zaldy was brought to the Bicutan jail after being tagged to the gruesome murders in November 2009.
Knowing full-well the consequences of his actions, Zaldy alleged it was his brother Andal Jr. who planned all along the murders. His father, Andal Sr., have been present in the planning, he further alleged.
He said he could only blame his father for everything that happened to the family.
“Kung makapili lang po ako, pipiliin kong magulang is yung kahit hindi ka niya mabigyan ng magandang posisyon, kahit di ka mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan, ang importante hindi naman magkalabo-labo ang buhay mo (If I were to choose my parents, I would choose someone who would not ruin my life),” he said.