MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday said it opposed detained former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan’s furlough bid in connection with his daughter’s wedding.
Ampatuan is among over 190 individuals accused of the gruesome killing of 58 people on November 23, 2009, also known as the ‘Maguindanao massacre,’ the worst election-related violence in Philippine history and the single worst attack on journalists in the world.
“The prosecution vigorously opposed Zaldy Ampatuan’s motion for furlough to attend his daughter’s wedding, but the court granted the motion for humanitarian reasons,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message.
Earlier, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines slammed public prosecutors assigned to the case for not exerting enough effort to block Ampatuan’s plea.
Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, in a three-page order on August 17, allowed Ampatuan to attend Bai Nur Aila’s wedding at a hotel in Pasay City on Tuesday, stating that the occasion is a "significant milestone to be cherished and remembered.”
The furlough granted him was from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., after which he was brought back to his detention cell in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
Ampatuan, his father and clan patriarch then-Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., and brother Andal Jr., are among the principal accused. Andal Sr. passed away while in detention in June 2015.
The Ampatuans were accused of masterminding the massacre to derail the gubernatorial bid of Esmael Mangudadatu in the 2010 elections.