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The Maguindanao Massacre And Atty. Alberto Agra

April 18, 2010

Who is Alberto Agra?

Agra served as the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo laywer during impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives in 2006. Lawyer Romulo Macalintal and and Agra represented the President in election-related issues in 2004.

In March 2007, Mrs. Arroyo appointed Agra as head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, the agency that acts as lawyers for government-owned and controlled corporations.

In June 2008, Agra quit as acting head of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Regulatory Office, owing to conflict of interest allegations.
From 1993 up until becoming DOJ chief, Agra was a professor at the Ateneo School of Law He taught election law, the 1991 Local Government Code, Law on Public/Government Corporations, Administrative Law, and Law on Public Officers.

He was also an executive director of the Saligan, a civic organization offering legal assistance and doing developmental legal work with women, workers, farmers, fishers, the urban poor and local communities.

He is the same Alberto Agra who, as Secretary of Justice has decided that the government drop the murder charges against two prominent members of the powerful Ampatuan clan – Zaldy Ampatuan, the suspended governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and his cousin Akmad Ampatuan, the former acting vice governor of Maguindanao – in connection with the November 2009 massacre of 57 people, including 32 media workers, in Maguindanao.

The two men are alleged to be among the key planners of the massacre that drew condemnation from all over the world.

Agra said he has ordered state prosecutors to exclude Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan from the information sheet filed before the court, and that the prosecutors would formally inform Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes that they were not charging the two with murder.

One basis for his decision is reportedly because there was no document to prove that the two Ampatuans planned Maguindanao massacre.

WTF???!!! Did he expect to find a memo?

Among the pieces of evidence heard during the bail hearings for the Ampatuans were testimonies from witness who allegedly heard Anadal Ampatuan being told by his father via two-way radio to go carry out the killings.

Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan have just been among the family members transferred from detention in General Santos City and Davao City to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, on Friday night.

The dropping of charges is certain to provoke outrage among the massacre victims’ relatives, who have repeatedly voiced concern that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had secretly intended to protect the Ampatuans because they are longtime political allies whose own private army was equipped with weapons traced to the National Armory.

Just this weekend, the relatives of the 57 victims held a memorial mass prayed for justice.

Those hopes have just received a major blow.

Thank you President Arroyo.

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