Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rebellion charges vs Ampatuans to be filed Wednesday

12/08/2009 | 11:46 PM

Government prosecutors on Tuesday recommended the filing of rebellion charges against seven members of the powerful Ampatuan clan, including its patriarch, former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Other clan members who will be charged are Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, Akmad Tato Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan, Sajid Islam Ampatuan, Goldo Ampatuan, and Abdulla Kaliangat Ampatuan.

Seventeen (17) others are also included in the list, according to Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor.

Blancaflor said the prosecution panel led by Senior State Prosecutor Leo Dacera would file the case on Wednesday at the Cotabato Regional Trial Court when government offices there resume operations.

The charges were supposed to be filed Tuesday, but government offices in Cotabato City were closed in celebration of the Holy Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a local holiday.

The case was in connection with the alleged armed uprising being hatched by the Ampatuans to stop government authorities from arresting them in connection with the Nov. 23 massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province.

Blancaflor said the case would be filed based on the affidavits submitted by the witnesses accusing the Ampatuans of ordering government offices to close down in protest of the crackdown of the military against their family.

Other witnesses also testified on the role of the Ampatuans in allegedly planning and implementing the withdrawal of allegiance from the government.

Ampatuan Sr. and Zaldy Ampatuan are now under government custody, as well as Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who is now facing 40 counts of murder in connection with the Maguindanao massacre after prosecutors added 15 to the earlier 25.

One of the lawyers of the embattled clan, meanwhile, said Ampatuan Sr. should be taken out of government custody.

Lawyer Victor Emmanuel Fontanilla, who stands as the clan's spokesman, said the 72-hour period given to determine if Ampatuan Sr. has to be charged has expired Tuesday without any complaints being lodged.

In his Balitanghali report, GMA News reporter Ian Cruz said no one from the Department of Justice (DOJ) has arrived to subject Andal Sr. to an inquest proceeding as of Tuesday noon.

Andal Sr. was initially brought to the Davao Doctors Hospital for health reasons Saturday, but was later transferred to a military hospital at Camp Panacan in Davao City, where he remains under observation due to hypertension.- with Mark MerueƱas/KBK,GMANews.TV

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