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Furlough stirs outrage


COTABATO CITY – Complainants and relatives of victims in the infa­mous 2009 Maguindanao massacre have aired indignation over the unannounced grant by the court of a furlough on suspect Zaldy Ampatuan to attend the wedding of his daughter at a posh hotel in Metro Manila last Tuesday.

Aggrieved relatives led by Magu­indanao senior Board Member Jazzer “King” Mangudadatu took turns in expressing their lamenta­tions in local media and Facebook posts, saying Ampatuan’s furlough bespoke of “implied mockery” of justice and unwittingly boosted the detainee’s claim about his eventual permanent freedom from jail.

Mangudadatu said the absence of notice to complainant-relatives about the furlough grant has fanned suspicion that money commands influence in the jus­tice system.“Ang mga hurado ba ay nababayaran pa rin ng salapi ngayon?” he asked.

The official was 13-years-old when his pregnant mother, Gina­lyn, two aunts, and 55 other people were killed on Nov. 23, 2009 in a secluded village in Ampatuan, Maguindanao. (Ali G. Macaba­lang)