Whoever steps down among “the Gods of Padre Faura” – and all judges and justices in the Philippines, in fact – gets to take home a stash of cash and a bagful of fancy tokens. But the recent parade of short-term Supreme Court justices is costing taxpayers a lot more in terms of payable retirement benefits.
On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 persons were killed in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province. The victims included 32 journalists and media workers, two lawyers, six motorists passing the same route, and the wife and sisters of Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, at that time the vice-mayor of Buluan town in Maguindanao.
By the numbers, the Ampatuan Massacre trial was a massive process that ran through nearly nine years. It involved 134 key witnesses for the prosecution, 58 private complainants, and witnesses for the defense.
Records of the Land Transportation Office show that the Ampatuans could have as many as 121 various vehicles, including at least 53 top-of-line luxury rides that are the latest of their kind. The clan's fleet is sure to mock even those of the wealthiest tycoons.