Roque: ensure security in hospital premises where Ampatuan patriarch is

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 July) – A lawyer of some media victims in the 2009 massacre of 58 persons in Ampatuan, Maguindanao has asked police authorities to “ensure security” in the premises of a state-owned hospital in Quezon City where the patriarch of the Ampatuan clan and principal suspect in the massacre lapsed into coma after a massive heart attack on Monday morning.

Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., former governor of Maguindanao and one of the principal suspects in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, has been confined in the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) since June 5.

In a certification dated June 26, Dr. Jade Jamias of the NKTI said the Ampatuan patriarch is “currently being managed as a case of advanced liver cancer with signs of decompensation,” and the prognosis is “currently dim as pharmacologic intervention is limited.”

“Expected life expectancy for such case is usually 3-6 (three to six) months but may be shorter if the liver function will continuously and progressively deteriorate,” Jamias said.

Lawyer Salvador Panelo told ABS-CBN News Tuesday evening that Ampatuan Sr., had lapsed into a coma after a massive heart attack Monday morning.

In a press statement on Wednesady, lawyer Harry Roque Jr, lead counsel for 13 media and two civilian victims of the massacre in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, said his clients are not opposing the visit of the family of Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., at the the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City, for humanitarian reasons.

But Roque said they “strongly caution the Philppine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other national law enforcement bodies to ensure that none of the accused can escape.”

Detained along with Andal Ampatuan, Sr., for the 2009 massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, are his sons Zaldy, second-term governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at the time of the massacre; Anwar, then mayor of Shariff Aguak; and Andal “Datu Unsay” Ampatuan, Jr., then mayor of Datu Unsay town.

The younger Andal is believed to have led the armed men who flagged down the convoy of the emissaries of political ally-turned-rival Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu and herded them off to the massacre site in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.

Roque said the request to visit their father was granted by Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch for humanitarian reasons.