Kin of Maguindanao massacre victims want Andal Jr. to appear in hearings
General Santos City (06 December) -- Families of the Maguindanao massacre victims are appealing for a reverse decision after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22 recently allowed Andal Ampatuan, Jr., the prime suspect, not to attend hearings "except when ordered by the court for purposes of identification, promulgation of judgment and other circumstances"
Grace Morales, sister of Newsfocus publisher, Marites Cablitas who was killed in that gruesome day of November 23 last year, said they respect the court's decision to grant Andal Jr.'s petition to waive his presence at the trial, however, they wanted him to be present so he would know how painful it is for the bereaved families to lose their loved ones.
"Karapatan nyang hindi dumalo sa hearing, pero kung pwede lang sana ay nandoon sya upang marinig nya ang mga testimonya ng mga witnesses na sya ang itinuturo sa karumal-dumal na krimen," Morales said.
Grace, a housewife with 3 kids, also lost her husband Russel in that same fateful day. She said she is still coping-up with the hardship of being a single mother especially that her youngest child was only 5 years old when Russel was killed.
Meanwhile, Myrna Reblano, wife of Manila Bulletin reporter, Bong Reblano shared the same sentiments in an interview over a local radio station here.
She said court hearings are useless without the presence of the accused.
"If there will be another hearing I hope the defense would present Unsay (Andal Ampatuan Jr.) because it is like nothing if there is a trial, yet the accused is absent," she said in Filipino.
The Maguindanao massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23, 2010 killed 57 people including 32 journalists. (pgfruylan/PIA-SarGen) [top]