NPC welcomes Ombudsman’s decision forfeiting Ampatuan assets

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PRESS STATEMENT
Ref.: PAUL M. GUTIERREZ//0977-1730127
January 27, 2017

NPC welcomes Ombudsman’s decision forfeiting Ampatuan assets

The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) welcomes the move of the Office of the Ombudsman to go after the assets of the Ampatuan clan reportedly amounting to more than P55 million.

“The decision of the Ombudsman to go after the ill-gotten assets of the Ampatuans who are responsible for the wholesale massacre in 2009 of 58 people, 32 of them members of the press, sends a positive message to the families of the victims in their quest for justice,” said NPC president Paul M. Gutierrez of the Journal Group.

“And belated as the Ombudsman decision may be, it somehow creates the impression that other agencies of the government are now doing their part to hasten the delivery of justice to the victims, one way or another.

“By regaining the wealth they also unjustly took away from the poor residents of Maguindanao while they are in power, it is fair to state that the forfeiture of their assets would limit their continuing capability to hire expensive lawyers, pay-off the victims’ families and influence the result of the ongoing court trial thru bribery,” Gutierrez added.

“Along this line, we urge government investigators to continue searching for the other ill-gotten wealth of the Ampatuans, some of which we know, have been transferred to the names of other people including some of their lawyers,” Gutierrez bared further.

Gutierrez noted that just days after the massacre, he and former NPC president Benny Antiporda were offered a P20 million bribe by an emissary of the clan for the club to stop taking up the cudgel for the victims but they immediately and firmly turned down the offer.

“The fight for justice for the Ampatuan massacre victims, no matter how long this would take, remain as a cornerstone of the NPC’s stand against media oppression and media killings,” Gutierrez said. “On this point, there can never be any compromise.”

On the commemoration of the massacre’s 6th anniversary last November 23, 2016, the NPC managed to raise P50,000 from a benefit concert it organized for the occasion.

The amount was then divided equally and distributed to the families of the victims thru their lawyer, Atty. Nena Santos, last January 4, 2017. ###

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