Arroyo "reviewing" possible actions on murder charges drop

20:14, April 19, 2010      

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Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is "reviewing" possible actions to take in connection with the Department of Justice ruling clearing two members of the Ampatuan clan from multiple murder charges, a Philippine official said on Monday.

In a news briefing, Gary Olivar, a deputy presidential spokesperson of the Philippines, said that Arroyo is treading very carefully on the issue since it involves an "active" court case.

Asked whether Arroyo would order an Office of the President review of the decision made by Justice Secretary Alberto Agra, Olivar said, "She (Arroyo) is reviewing what must be done."

On the possibility of an Office of the President reversal of the Department of Justice ruling, Olivar said "anything is possible."

"I guess we should give her(Arroyo) enough time to make sure that she is doing the right thing before she does it. She has to weigh it carefully," he added.

Agra ordered state prosecutors to drop the murder indictments against Zaldy Ampatuan, the suspended governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Mayor Akmad Ampatuan Sr. late Friday, sparkling extensive protests in this south-eastern Asian country.

The two are among 197 people facing murder charges for the slaying of 57 people including 32 media workers in an ambush in Maguindanao province in November last year.

A total of 23 members of the Ampatuan clan have been charged with murder. Six of them are now detained, including the patriarch, Andal Sr., and his sons--Andal Jr., Zaldy and Sajid.

Source: Xinhua


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