Key suspects in Philippine massacre moved to maximum security jail
Six members of a powerful clan accused of killing 57 people in the southern Philippines were transferred to a maximum security detention centre in the capital, a police report said Saturday.
Clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Senior, three of his sons and a nephew were transferred late Friday to police Camp Bagong Diwa detention centre in Taguig City in metropolitan Manila, dpa reported.
The principal suspect in the killing, Andal Ampatuan Junior, was transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa Thursday.
The suspects were to stay at Camp Bagong Diwa while on trial in the November 23 killings of relatives of a rival political family and 32 journalists and media workers in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province, 930 kilometres south of Manila.
A witness identified Ampatuan Senior, the governor of Maguindanao, as the one who gave the order to his son Ampatuan Junior to execute the victims in a hilly area in Ampatuan town.
Ampatuan Junior, together with more than 100 loyal militiamen and policemen, allegedly shot most of the victims at close range although the victims had pleaded for their lives.
The three other sons, who include regional Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, and the nephew are also accused of being part of the conspiracy to kill the victims.
Prior to their transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa, Ampatuan Senior was detained in a military camp in the southern city of Davao while Ampatuan Junior was held at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila.
The four other suspects moved Friday were detained at a police detention facility in the southern city of General Santos.
Police have also identified and charged policemen and militiamen involved in the killings.
The Ampatuans were close political allies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and were suspected to have played a key role in the alleged rigging of the 2004 presidential elections to ensure Arroyo's victory.
Arroyo, however, has distanced herself from the Ampatuan family and has vowed to bring justice to the victims.