Late prosecutor’s fight to keep Ampatuan case alive remembered

Published November 24, 2020, 5:27 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in handed a guilty verdict against 28 persons in 2019 over the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case, late Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera and a handful of prosecutors fought to keep the case alive at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and refused to let members of the influential Ampatuan clan be absolved from wrongdoing.


Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon on Tuesday, Nov. 2014, recounted that he, along with other prosecutors including Navera, had opposed back in 2010 the resolution of then Justice Secretary Alberto Agra that cleared former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and his uncle, former ARMM Vice Gov. Akmad Amatuan Sr. from multiple murder charges.

Fadullon recalled that they “stood up and walked out together on former Secretary Agra when he wanted to dismiss the cases against Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan at the risk of losing our jobs.”

“Together we bravely went up against the Ampatuans in the Maguindanao Massacre case only to be removed unceremoniously together by former Sec. [Leila] De Lima,” he recalled.

On Dec. 19 last year, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City RTC Branch 221 convicted 28 persons including Zaldy and Akmad for multiple murder over the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case where 57 persons, including members of the media, were killed.

“Well, with the many cases we worked on together, it was like a Batman and Robin tandem,” Fadullon described his work with Navera whose “competence and brilliance is without question.”

“To me, he will always be my go to guy, my ever reliable partner and my ROBIN. We will miss him but what he has done and the lives he has touched  will make his memory live on in our hearts forever,” he said.

Aside from the Maguindanao massacre case, Fadullon said he and Navera worked on the Oakwood mutiny case against former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

“We fought fiercely in the Oakwood mutiny case against the former (Senator) Trillanes, but together we experienced frustration when they were granted amnesty,” he said.