Kin of Ampatuan massacre victims seek higher civil damages

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – Families of those killed in the grisly massacre in Maguindanao in 2009 will seek higher civil damages from the convicted Ampatuan clan members, their lawyer said Friday.

Atty. Harry Roque, one of the legal counsels of the families of massacre victims, said they will file an appeal seeking to double the damage fees to be awarded, given the state of the victims’ remains when they were found and identified.

Roque made the announcement a day after the Ampatuans appealed their murder convictions.

“Civil indemnity should be more than P100,000 as human lives should cost more than this. And exemplary damages should be more than P100,000 to send the message that the State will not tolerate the killing of journalists,” he said.

The victims’ families are entitled to receive damages ranging from P350,000 to P23.5 million as ordered by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 during the case promulgation in December.

Roque said it could take two years before the victims’ relatives can claim the damages as the accused are now moving to appeal the court’s decision.

The damages may only be awarded to the heirs of the victims when the decision is final or when the Supreme Court has agreed with the verdict.

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