Philippine President Arroyo Escapes Criminal Raps on Maguindanao Massacre

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 4, 2013 2:19 PM EST

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been cleared from the criminal negligence raps filed against her in relation to the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre that killed 58 people, 32 of whom were journalists.

Over the weekend, the Manila Prosecutors' Office said the cases filed against Ms Arroyo, now Pampanga Rep., were dismissed for lack of evidence.

"(T)here is no evidence presented to show criminal negligence on the part of the respondent. The allegations made are more of generalizations and conclusions without supporting proof to show personal culpability of the respondent," the one-page resolution, approved and signed by Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Raymunda Cruz-Apolo and Assistant City Prosecutor Wilbur Arimboyutan, said.

Vice gubernatorial candidate for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Marconi Abdulaziz Paiso filed the complaint against the former Philippine President on allegations the latter's negligence in fulfilling her duties as president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces triggered and fueled the tense political situation in the region, eventually leading to the incident.

Ms Arroyo figured prominently in the incident when on Nov. 23, 2009, 58 people in a convoy were massacred by 100 armed men reportedly led by Andal Ampatuan Jr. The convoy was on its way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, then the vice mayor of Vuluan town. The armed men spared no one in the group, including 32 journalists.

The Ampatuans were known political allies of Ms Arroyo and her family.

But the prosecutors from the Manila Prosecutors' Office said the negligent acts attributed to Ms Arroyo bore "no direct causal connection nor even proximate cause of the Maguindanao massacre."

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