Palace: Ampatuan must answer charges

January 15, 2010 10:50 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 15 — Even if he were President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s brother, Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. of Datu Unsay town, Maguindanao would still have to answer the charges against him.

“No one is above the law. The President is just letting the wheels of justice turn,” Presidential Political Adviser Prospero Pichay Jr. said on Friday in response to the claim of Ampatuan lawyers that the clan supported her during the 2004 national elections.

Pichay said it doesn’t matter if Ampatuan Jr., the principal suspect in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last November 23, were the President’s brother. “Repaying a debt of gratitude is out of the question,” he added. “The President is just being true to her oath to do justice to everyone.”

Meanwhile, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the national government is still evaluating the state of emergency imposed on the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato City.

“Once there is peace and order in the area, the state of emergency will be lifted,” Remonde assured, adding the national government’s objective is to bring back the state of normalcy in the affected areas before the May national elections. (PNA)

/OPS/ssc

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