Ampatuan no-show at arraignment

MANILA, Philippines – The scheduled arraignment of former Maguindanao Gov Andal Ampatuan Sr for electoral sabotage Thursday, March 15, did not push through after the ailing patriarch skipped the proceedings at the Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC).

Ampatuan was still reportedly ill after he vomited blood and was rushed to the hospital Friday, March 9. 

Quezon City RTC Branch 221 issued an order to continue Ampatuan’s hospital confinement, said Pasay RTC Branch 112 spokesperson Felda Domingo in an interview.

“We are constrained to reset the arraignment until further information,” Domingo said. Under normal procedures, courts cannot arraign an accused in his or her absence, she noted.

The electoral sabotage case facing Ampatuan is the same charge for which former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was arrested last year, and arraigned last month. Arroyo entered a “not guilty” plea.

Their co-accused, former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol, was arraigned early this week.

Pasay RTC Branch 112 is also scheduled to hear Arroyo and Bedol's petition for bail Thursday. The hearing begins 9 a.m. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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