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Ampatuans to ask court to reconsider guilty verdict

Former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his family members who were found guilty of multiple murder will move for the reconsideration of their conviction over the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, their lawyers said Thursday.

Lawyers for Andal Jr., known as "Datu Unsay," former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan Sr., Anwar "Ipi" Ampatuan Jr., and Anwar Sajid "Ulo" Ampatuan said they will file motions for reconsideration and the relevant pleadings within 15 days.

The attorneys made the manifestations after their clients were convicted of 57 counts of murder over the gruesome killings. Unsay was particularly accused of leading the massacre of 58 people atop a hill in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on November 23, 2009.

Convictions are appealable all the way up to the Supreme Court.

At least four Ampatuans, meanwhile, were among more than 50 individuals who were acquitted.

For his part, lawyer Harry Roque Jr., who represents the family of photojournalist Reynaldo Momay, a massacre victim whose body was never found, said he will file a notice of appeal in connection with the dismissal of the family's claim to damages.

Momay was the 58th massacre victim, but the court acquitted all the accused in the case relating to his death due to reasonable doubt.

The Maguindanao Massacre is considered as the Philippines' worst case of election-related violence and the single deadliest attack on journalists since detailed records were kept.

The wife, relatives, and supporters of Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu, a gubernatorial candidate in the 2010 elections, were on their way to file his candidacy to challenge an Ampatuan for the post when they were abducted, shot using high-powered firearms, and buried in pits on top of a remote hill.

Thirty-two of the victims were members of the media who were supposed to cover the filing. Six were not part of the convoy.

Mangudadatu is now a congressman representing Maguindanao. — MDM, GMA News