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PIA Press Release
2010/05/07

New evidence convinced DOJ to reverse exoneration of Ampatuans - Saludo

Manila (7 May) -- Malacaņang Presidential spokesperson Ricardo Saludo yesterday (May 6) said new evidence convinced Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to reverse his earlier decision clearing two members of the Ampatuan clan of murder charges in connection with the November 23 Maguindanao massacre.

"New evidence convinced him (Sec. Agra) for the reversal" Saludo said, asserting that no pressure whatsoever has been exerted on the DOJ chief to change his decision.

Saludo said Agra found a "probable cause" to indict the Zaldy Ampatuan, governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and his close relative Akmad Ampatuan following the testimony of a new witness, Abdul Tulusa, a member of the local civilian volunteer organization.

Tulusa said in a sworn trestimony that Zaldy and Akmad were involved in the planning of the massacre of the 57 persons, more than 30 of them members of the media, and the others relatives and supporters of the Mangundadatu clan, known political rivals of the Ampatuans.

Earlier Malacaņang executive secretary Leandro Mendoza asked the justice secretary to confer with "mutinous" prosecutors protesting the exoneration of the two Ampatuans and to review whether some evidence in the crime have been missed.

Agra has received six motions from the families of victims, all of which sought the reconsideration of his resolution that favored the two Ampatuans.

Upon assessing the new evidence, Agra concluded that Tulusa's testimony strengthened the evidence of the prosecution. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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