Suspect in Philippine massacre pleads not guilty
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The scion of a powerful political clan accused of leading last year’s massacre of 57 journalists and members of a rival’s family has pleaded not guilty in the first day of trial.
Andal Ampatuan Jr., a town mayor in southern Maguindanao province, is initially charged with 41 counts of murder in the Nov. 23 attack on an election caravan, the worst political violence in the country.
He entered a plea of not guilty in the first day of trial Tuesday, which is being held under tight security in the national police headquarters in Manila.
Prosecutors say they have witnesses who will testify that he led more than 100 government-armed militiamen who escorted the victims to a hilltop clearing where they were gunned down, hacked and buried in mass graves.