Press Release
April 19, 2010

Aquino to DOJ: "Where is the justice?"

"We are very disappointed with the resolution of the DOJ," said Liberal Party standard bearer Senator Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino in a press conference in Quezon City today.

"It seems that the very little justice that the families of the victims were hoping for has been set aside with this resolution."

The Department of Justice, under Acting Secretary Alberto Agra, dropped murder raps against two members of the Ampatuan clan last Saturday, sparking outrage among various groups, including prosecutors from within the DOJ. The charges were filed in connection to the gruesome massacre of 57 people last November 23, 2009, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, where the wife of Buluan Vice Mayor Toto Mangudadatu, Genalyn, and other relatives, as well as members of the media, suffered a brutal end.

Aquino recalled that as early as the joint session of Congress on the declaration of martial law, he and several lawmakers had already questioned the wisdom behind the filing of rebellion charges against Ampatuan patriarch Andal Sr. and other members of the Ampatuan clan. The rebellion charges were later on dismissed by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.

Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda added that the dismissal of the charges and the release of ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and Mamasapano Mayor Akmad Ampatuan was very "convenient" in so far as it allows the two Ampatuans to go back to Maguindanao, where massive electoral fraud has been known to be orchestrated to favor chosen allies of the Ampatuans.

"Of all the cases pending before the DOJ, why rush the resolution of this particular one?" said Lacierda, referring to the haste with which the resolution was made. This concern was also echoed by several groups who protested the DOJ resolution.

"Despite this development, we still not stop until we achieve justice for our countrymen," Aquino said.

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