Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ampatuans' patriarch files arbitrary detention charges vs military

MANILA, Philippines - Former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. has filed charges of arbitrary detention against senior military officials in the Southern Mindanao region.

Andal Sr. has been detained at Camp Panacan military hospital at the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) headquarters in Davao City.

Authorities have said that the head of the powerful Maguindanao clan was arrested in Shariff Aguak during the martial law period in the province but was initially placed in a private hospital in Davao City after complaining of ill health. He was later forcibly brought to the military hospital.

In his complaint filed at the Davao City Prosecutor's Office, Andal Sr. named as respondents: EastMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferer, Army’s 601st Brigade commander Col. Leo Crescente Ferrer and Lt. Col. Joel Paloma as well as other military personnel allegedly involved in his arrest.

The complaint filed by Andal Sr.’s lawyer Philip Pantojan alleged that no warrant of arrest was presented by the military when he was nabbed.

Andal Sr. added that no commitment order was also issued after rebellion charges were filed against him. He also sought for his release from detention.

Physical injury case?

The camp of Andal Sr. also disclosed that they are mulling the filing of a physical injury case against the soldiers who forcibly took him from the Davao Doctors’ College hospital where he was initially confined.

Military officials, meanwhile, said they were only following orders.

"Our lawyers have answered all the allegations. Dapat maintindihan nila, nadakip siya during martial law (He should realize that he was arrested during martial law),” said Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman.

The military command spokesman also said they would welcome the filing of the physical injury case.

“I urge them to file the physical injury case, kasi may video kami na ang sundalo namin ang nabugbog at di sila (because we have a video that shows our soldiers were the ones hurt not them)," said EastMinCom’s spokesman.

Aside from rebellion charges, Andal Sr. and other key members of the powerful Maguindanao clan have also been named as respondents in the multiple murder case in connection with the gruesome massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last November 23. Killed in the massacre were members of a rival clan in Maguindanao, lawyers and at least 30 journalists.

The patriarch’s son, Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., was tagged as the primary suspect in the massacre.

Panels of the Department of Justice, conducting separate preliminary probes on the rebellion and multiple murder complaints, were set to issue resolutions by January.

Andal Jr. and Andal Sr. have waived their rights to file counter-affidavits to the multiple murder complaints filed against them. From a report of Francis Magbanua, ABS-CBN Southern Mindanao (as of 12/30/2009 6:44 PM)

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