Philippines: ex-president sued by relatives of Mindanao massacre victims

The relatives of 57 people killed in a 2009 Philippines massacre on Nov. 22 sued former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for allegedly assisting the perpetrators. The families seek five million pesos (USD $345,000) from Arroyo for damages caused by her alleged support of the Ampatuan family, whom government prosecutors claim were behind the November 2009 Maguindanao Massacre. Arroyo has denied any wrongdoing. The lawsuit comes at a particularly difficult time for Arroyo after Philippine authorities formally charged her on Nov. 19 with electoral sabotage, a day after she was arrested on a warrant [text] issued for charges of corruption and election fraud that occurred during her time as president.

Last week, Arroyo and her husband attempted to leave the country after posting bond in order to seek medical treatment for Arroyo, but the government refused to allow them transit. In June, the Philippines Supreme Court said that it would allow the live broadcast of the Maguindanao Massacre trial subject to guidelines set by the court. The court decided to allow broadcast coverage in this particular situation, involving the trial of several members of a clan accused of killing 57 people, including 31 journalists, supporting a rival political candidate. Earlier in June, a Philippine court froze $23 million worth of assets owned by the Ampatuan family, who are accused of ordering the 2009 slayings, while investigators determine how the Ampatuans accumulated accumulated the assets.

From Jurist, Nov. 22. Used with permission.

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