The Infamous Ampatuans and Fortun

RENAMING several Maguindanao towns which were named after members of the infamous Ampatuan clan who are standing trial for the Nov 23, 2009 murders of 58 civilians is as timely as the petition before the High Court to disbar similarly infamous Atty. Sigfrid Fortun.

Any move like this in a determined effort to remove the stigma caused by the brutal killings of the innocent people, 32 of whom were journalists, perpetrated by the Ampatuans said to be led by patriarch and ex-governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and namesake son Andal Jr., the alleged principal murderer, must be fully supported by most of us who have been sympathizing with the victims’ families in search for justice after the tragedy that occurred more than a year ago.

And the people of Maguindanao could play a big role by gradually starting a new life without the once powerful clan by first chucking out their fears that have prevailed upon them for years until the gruesome deaths of the hapless civilians who had apparently served as sacrificial lambs in order to awaken the province from deep slumber.

With new leader at the helm, Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu whose wife Genalyn was among those brutally murdered, the plans to rename at least seven municipalities, namely, Datu Unsay, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Hoffer, Shariff Aguak, Mamasapano, Datu Salibo and Sayduna, is a good start to begin a peaceful life in the Mindanao province.

The Maguindanoans should be the ones to decide as to the names of their respective towns and they could effectively do it through a plebiscite for the purpose but only after the legislative assembly of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which Maguindanao is a part of, approves it. I’ve got a feeling the region’s law-making body will side with them this time around.

I’ve got the same feeling that the mounting clamor for Fortun to be disbarred from law practice will step up in coming days with no less than his other colleagues who would certainly condemn him not only for accepting the multi-million peso offer to defend the Ampatuans but for degrading the notary public which for him is apparently much less income-generating jobs.

Fortun, who once presented ex-President Erap Estrada in the 2001 impeachment case and currently the counsel of PNoy’s predecessor now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is under probe over allegations of massive corruption during her term, tried to reason out that without like him defending the Ampatuans, the case would not move forward. Really? C’mon tell it to the Marines!
Or perhaps, it’s just too tempting not to accept to be the lead counsel of the Ampatuans who would not mind paying huge amount just to be absolved from murders of innocent civilians.

An Appeal to Elected Bgy and SK Officials Nothing more important than the appeal made by Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco to the newly-elected Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials from the city’s 14 villages to extend their hands of reconciliation to those whom they defeated during the last Oct 25 polls.
Administering their mass oath-taking at the City Hall ground, the mayor has likewise urged them to serve their respective constituents well and for the new youth leaders to take an active part in the city’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

He told them: “You can be more effective in serving your constituents if you would first extend your hands of reconciliation to the poll losers in your respective barangays because if you do they can surely be your partners not enemies.”

P500K for Gulping San Miguel Beer to the Max!

Whew, for beating other high-caliber beer drinking groups all over the country, these men from Caloocan City, namely, Ramil Asistio, Roberto Aban, Paul Peregrino and brothers Rommel and Rolando Monzon, have brought home the bacon with P500, 000 as the grand champions of the successful SMB’s 11th National Beer Drinking Challenge held last Saturday in Mandaue City, Cebu.

Territory Sales Supervisor Carlo Castelo, TS Manager Jojo Duya and Area Sales Manager Alcris Villas, all of GMA-North Area, deserve a pat on the back for guiding the “Naunsyami” drinking buddies that enabled them to beat others during the difficult elimination rounds until they emerge victors in the national finals.
Extra-delighted were some mediamen from different places in the country including yours truly who were bigheartedly treated by SMB people with kind of specialty foods and delicacies and unforgettable tours to the province’s historical spots. Congrats to this year’s winners and SMB! Arlie Calalo


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