Two of the Ampatuans, among them, ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan has just been cleared by the Department of Justice of all murder charges. Justice secretary Agra told journalists that he approved the petition for review of the Ampatuans after closely studying the pieces of evidence that were presented. Agra believes that Zaldy and Datu Mamasapano are not involved in the grisly massacre of 59 civilians last November 23 in Datu Sharif Aguak in Maguindanao.
I don't know with you, but remember that this site wrote about the plan to exonerate the Ampatuans from this a few weeks ago. Sources told me that the palace intends to release Zaldy Ampatuan after a series of violent incidents rocked the province. It seems that the Ampatuans are still needed by the military to maintain the peace, so to speak, in the province.
We all know that the Ampatuans served as counter-force or some say, counter-balance against lawless and insurgent elements in the province. Some of the military believes that Zaldy can still weave his so-called "magic" to put a stop to the violence breaking out almost everyday in Maguindanao.
The only worry some people have would actually be this---with two Ampatuans in the lam, how would this affect the status of the multiple murder cases filed against the other Ampatuans? Martial law was declared in Maguindanao specifically to allow an independent and impartial probe of the massacre. Now with two Ampatuans freed, surely, doubts will be raised.
Some of the main witnesses to the crime were either killed or silenced. Groups are quite anxious and equally afraid that the Ampatuan clan will exert their influence upon witnesses and their families.
This is beginning to be messy. Too messy for our comfort. Vigilance is the key.