A Quezon City court summoned former president and now Pampanga lawmaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to answer the P15-million damage suit filed by the families of the victims of the “Maguindanao Massacre.’’
Lawyer Harry Roque, counsel of the 17 victims of the massacre revealed that the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 104 served the summons on Arroyo who is now detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for another case of electoral sabotage.
“The process is now moving with the service of the summons,” the lawyer said, adding that though there is no date yet for her appearance, “She has to answer fifteen  days from receipt,” Roque told The Manila Times.
He explained that what delayed the service of the summons on the former president was the process involving the petition of the families to be recognized as “pauper litigants.”
By court’s recognition that the massacre victims’ families as pauper litigants, the filing fee for the damage suit had been waived.
The damage suit was filed in 2011, claiming that Arroyo as then-president “aided and abetted the murderous Ampatuans and their private armies” now implicated in the November 23, 2009, massacre in Maguindanao.
The massacre claimed the lives of 58 people, many of them journalists covering the convoy led by the wife of then-vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan to file his candidacy to challenge the Ampatuans in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
In the damage suit, the victims’ families also claimed Arroyo “refused to perform her sworn duty as president to ensure that laws be faithfully executed in Maguindanao.”
They also said that the former president was “civilly liable” for the massacre under the doctrine of command responsibility.
A separate multiple murder case is now being heard by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 against members and alleged supporters of the Ampatuan clan.