According to local and international news reports, the indictment charged the powerful local politician and political clan leader Andal Ampatuan Sr. and others (differing media reports put the number somewhere between 195 and 197) of conspiring to ambush and kill members of the rival Mangudadatu family and supporters, who were gunned down in Maguindanao province. The killings were allegedly carried out to prevent Esmael Mangudadatu from challenging the Ampatuans’ control of the province in May’s elections. The 32 journalists and media workers killed in the attack were in a convoy with Mangudadatu’s family members and his political allies to enter his name as a candidate.
“This is a welcome fist step in addressing this
terrible attack,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s
CPJ data show the killings to be by far the single worst incident in which journalists have been killed. CPJ has expressed fears (here and here) that there would not be a successful prosecution of the perpetrators.
“A successful prosecution would help reduce the
overwhelming level of impunity for those who kill journalists in the