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Philippines ex-president sued by relatives of massacre victims

The relatives of 57 people killed in a 2009 Philippines massacre on Tuesday sued former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for allegedly assisting the perpetrators. The families seek five million pesos (USD $345,000) from Arroyo for damages caused by her alleged support of the Ampatuan family [AFP report], whom government prosecutors claim were behind the November 2009 Maguindanao Massacre [CSM backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Arroyo has denied any wrongdoing. The lawsuit comes at a particularly difficult time for Arroyo after Philippine authorities formally charged [JURIST report] her on Saturday with electoral sabotage, a day after she was arrested on a warrant [text] issued for charges of corruption and election fraud that occurred during her time as president.

Last week, Arroyo and her husband attempted to leave the country after posting bond in order to seek medical treatment for Arroyo, but the government refused to allow them transit. In June, the Philippines Supreme Court [official website] said that it would allow the live broadcast [JURIST report] of the November 2009 Maguindanao Massacre trial subject to guidelines set by the court. The court decided to allow broadcast coverage in this particular situation involving the trial of several members of a clan accused of killing 57 people, including 31 journalists, supporting a rival political candidate. Earlier in June, a Philippine court froze USD $23 million worth of assets [JURIST report] owned by the Ampatuan family, who are accused of ordering the 2009 slayings, while investigators determine how the Ampatuans accumulated accumulated the assets.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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