Mangudadatu clan in ‘deep pain’ after Zaldy Ampatuan allowed to leave jail

MANILA, Philippines – The Mangudadatu family denounced the furlough granted to Maguindanao massacre suspect and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan.

Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu said on Friday, August 24, that his clan was in “deep pain” that Ampatuan was allowed to leave jail so he could attend his daughter’s wedding. 

“Our family expresses our deep pain and discomfort over the furlough granted by the court to Zaldy Ampatuan. Nine years ago, 58 persons have been killed with impunity by the Ampatuan clan. Our families suffered the insufferable,” said Mangudadatu in a statement. 

He issued it 3 days after Ampatuan was briefly allowed to leave his cell on Tuesday, August 21 to attend his daughter's wedding held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. (WATCH: Why Ampatuan was allowed to leave jail

Ampatuan is one of the suspected masterminds of the infamous Maguindanao massacre in 2009, which left 58 people dead, most of whom were journalists.

Among those murdered was the pregnant wife and other relatives of then-vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, the brother of Dong. The Mangudadatus and Ampatuans are political rivals in Maguindanao.

“Nine years until today, we are still enduring the indiscriminate assault of the Ampatuans to the dignity and memory of our dead families with the unabashed attitude of Zaldy Ampatuan, out from prison last Tuesday to party at his daughter’s wedding,” said Dong. 

“We have struggled every day to live off the pain of losing our loved ones. We refuse to live off the image of one of the perpetrators out in public witnessing his daughter’s wedding, while our dead sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers will never be able to attend a wedding of their loved ones themselves,” he added.

Dong said the Mangudadatu family appeals for the court to make “careful evaluations” for future furlough requests of the Ampatuan massacre suspects.  

“We will file objections to any further requests from the accused without us being notified,” said Dong. 

“The Ampatuans have taken so much from the families of the 58 victims, we will not let them keep taking from us every time they are out from prison,” he added.  

President Rodrigo Duterte himself said he is also "dismayed" over the granting of furlough to Ampatuan. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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