Ampatuan family member granted bail

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines expresses dismay over the decision of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 granting Sajid Islam Ampatuan, son of Andal Ampatuan Sr., to post bail.

“While we may understand last year’s grant of bail to 41 policemen accused of the slaughter that claimed the lives of 58 persons, including 32 of our colleagues, we find it incredulous that a key member of the clan whose presence at the meetings during which the massacre was planned has been established could be accorded the same privilege,” NUJP said in a statement released on its social networking site account.

“These meetings were basically clan councils in which, as is common in Filipino culture, silence means consent,” the guild of Filipino journalists added. “The bail of 11.6 million, or P200,000 for each of the 58 counts of murder, required of Sajid Islam is peanuts to the family.”

According to PhilStar.com, “the judge noted that the suspect was merely present in the meetings but did not utter any word while matters about the crime were supposedly being discussed.”