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Suspect arrested in connection with Maguindanao massacre in Philippines

(IFJ/IFEX) - 30 August 2012 - Anwar Upam Ampatuan, the grandson of Ampatuan patriarch Andal Sr., became the 102nd suspect to be arrested in connection with the Maguindanao Massacre on Tuesday August 28. Anwar Upam is being detained at the jail facility inside Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City and according to reports, will be transferred to the Quezon City Jail inside Camp Bagong Diwa where he will join other detained massacre suspects including his grandfather, Andal Sr. and uncle Andal Jr.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group was waiting for confirmation from a witness under the Justice Department's protection, to positively identify Anwar Upam before he was arrested and moved to the jail annex of Camp Bogong Diwa.

Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr. confirmed that Anwar Upam, under his alias Datu Ulo, was arrested at around 6:30 pm Tuesday August 28, in Las Piñas City. According to reports, authorities seized a .45 calibre pistol and two loaded magazines during the arrest.

Anwar Upam is the 60th name on the list of suspects to be charged in connection with the massacre of 58 people travelling in a convoy led by Genalyn Tiamzon-Mangudadatu, who was on her way to file her husband and Ampatuan rival, Governor Esmael Mangudadatu's candidacy for the elections for governor of Maguindanao province on 23 November 2009. Of the 102 suspects arrested in connection with the case, 76 have been arraigned, but only two of the primary Ampatuan suspects - Andal Jr. and Andal Sr., have been formally charged.

The IFJ and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) welcome these charges with caution. "These are overdue steps in what has become a protracted and arduous legal process," Jacqueline Park, IFJ Asia Pacific Director said. "A commitment to justice must be demonstrated by bringing the perpetrators behind the massacre to justice."

The 1000th Day anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, the single worst attack against journalists, was recently commemorated in the Philippines.

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