The patriarch of a Philippine political clan must stand trial for the murder of 57 people in November 2009 after his petition to have the charges dropped was thrown out, a lawyer said on Tuesday.
President Benigno Aquino, who took office in 2010, has cited the case as part of his commitment to restoring rule of law and ending a culture of impunity and patronage. The trial is expected to run beyond his six-year term.
The Court of Appeal dismissed Andal Ampatuan Sr's claims of abuse of discretion and failure to observe due process in filing murder charges against him and his sons.
Ampatuan Sr. and one of his sons, Andal Jr, both face the murder charges, Prima Jesusa Quinsayas, a lawyer for the families of some of those killed, told Reuters. "There are no more obstacles for his trial and we hope it will start within the month," she added.