CA rejects plea by Ampatuan for hospital transfer

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THE COURT of Appeals (CA) has rejected the appeal of the principal convict in the massacre of more than 50 people in Maguindanao province in 2009 to be transferred to a hospital to avoid being infected with the coronavirus.

In a nine-page decision dated July 4, the appellate court affirmed a Quezon City trial court decision against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy U. Ampatuan as it ruled the petition had become moot due to decreasing infections and the availability of vaccines.

The appellate court cited government data that said 27,879 of 50,000 inmates at the national jail in Muntinlupa City had been fully vaccinated as of March 14.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 1, the most relaxed quarantine status.

“An actual case may become moot and academic, however, when, by virtue of supervening events, the conflicting issue that may be resolved by the court ceases to exist,” Associate Justice Angelene Mary W. Quimp-Sale said in the ruling.

The court also said Mr. Ampatuan had failed to expound on the “clear and present danger” that he mentioned in his pleading.

Mr. Ampatuan and his brother, former Maguindanao Mayor Andal “Datu Unsay” U. Ampatuan, Jr. are serving life sentences after being convicted of 57 counts of murder for the massacre.

The massacre took place when journalists and family members of Esmael G. Mangudadatu, a political rival of the Ampatuan family, were accompanying him to the Commission on Elections to file his certificate of candidacy on Nov. 23, 2009.

Mr. Mangudadatu was running for governor of ARMM to end the 20-year rule of the Ampatuan family. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a global media watchdog, said the massacre was the “worst single incident of journalist killing.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez