Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Will Gloria Arroyo Arrest the Ampatuans?

Shocked and outraged by the Monday massacre in Maguindanao province, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's allies Tuesday called on her to swiftly go after a scion of the clan that helped her clinch victory in the 2004 presidential election.

Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro Jr., standard-bearer of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said authorities should immediately arrest Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. on the strength of the evidence supposedly pointing to him and his men.

"The government should [take] unequivocal and strong [steps] against the perpetrators. [Ampatuan] must be arrested because he has something to do with this. He must also face an impartial investigation," the resigned defense secretary said at a press conference.

Ampatuan should surrender to the police if he wants to clear his name, Teodoro said. He also said a delay in the government's response to the "indescribable" killings would be a cause of "national embarrassment."

Palawan Rep. Antonio Alvarez, the spokesperson of the ruling party, said any of its members found liable for the killings should be expelled at once.

The Ampatuans are party members. Only in June, Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), a son of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan, was appointed interim regional chair of the party.

"If the party leadership, despite overwhelming evidence, will continue to keep them in the ranks for political expediency, then it will be wracked with resignations as it will become untenable for many members, like me, to stay in a party that coddles mass murderers," Alvarez warned. - Phil Daily Iquirer

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