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Gloria Arroyo sued over Maguindanao massacre

MANILA — The government is getting more help in prosecuting former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Aside from the electoral sabotage case filed against her by the Commission on Elections, Arroyo is now facing a civil suit for the Maguindanao massacre that killed 58 people, 32 of whom were journalists.

Arroyo, who’s on hospital arrest for the electoral sabotage charges filed against her, is already facing before the Office of the Ombudsman a plunder case over the scuttled $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal.

Last Tuesday (November 22), relatives of the journalists killed in the Maguindanao massacre filed a PhP15 million-damage suit against the former President.

The 13-page complaint, filed at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, said Arroyo in effect aided and abetted the Ampatuan clan when she issued Executive Order 546 in July 14, 2006, which practically legalizes the use of private armies as “force multipliers” in the war against insurgents. The second anniversary of the massacre is being commemorated today.

The other massacre victims were relatives and supporters of incumbent Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu and several bystanders. The government has charged the Ampatuan clan for the murders. Among the 196 people implicated in the massacre were members of the powerful Ampatuan family and their private armies.

“Arroyo’s administration armed the Ampatuans against the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the region, granting the clan much leeway to establish its own paramilitary units,” the plaintiffs said.

Harry Roque, who is representing the relatives of 13 journalists and two bystanders slain in the massacre, earlier said Arroyo is responsible for coddling and abetting those behind the killings and for violating the rights of the victims.