Ampatuans getting VIP Treatment in jail?

The key suspects in 2009's infamous Maguindanao massacre, brothers Zaldy Ampatuan, suspended governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Sajid Ampatuan, former governor of Maguindanao, and Anwar Ampatuan, mayor of Shariff Aguak, together with their uncle, Maguindanao Vice Mayor, Akmad Ampatuan, are purportedly being given VIP treatment in jail the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) compound at the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Gen. Santos City, reports the Inquirer.

Aside from alleged mobile phone access, catered meals, and daily cell clean-ups, the four reported allies of President Macapagal-Arroyo have also been reported to get security-check free visits from their lawyers and friends, while the members of the media are strictly barred from getting in.

"What special treatment are they talking about? There's no special treatment here," said SPO4 Alex Pedroso. But DxES Bombo Radyo reporter Boy Galano, told the Inquirer he saw two of the supposedly detained Ampatuans outside their cell around 8 p.m. December 31, sitting with two CIDG personnel at a long table where they were being served food. Galano claimed that the two detainees were quickly rushed inside their cell when the CIDG noticed the Bombo Radyo service vehicle approaching the compound.

Other reporters corroborated this story, stating that the special treatment has been going on for about three weeks, according to the Inquirer. Weng Paraan, secretary general of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines was even noted saying she saw a caterer and cleanup man enter the compound during her visit on January 1.

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Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera told Bombo Radyo this morning that the police know fully well that it is forbidden to give any detained suspect VIP treatment, and that any officer caught doing so will be given corresponding sanctions.

Relatives of the victims of the November 23 "Ampatuan Massacre," in which 57 people were killed, have expressed their disappointment on the matter. Paraan spoke with Bombo Radyo saying that, "Justice should be equally applied to everybody."

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