WATCH: Why Ampatuan was allowed to leave jail

Mara Cepeda
Ampatuan is captured on video waltzing with his daughter Kristina at her wedding reception on Tuesday, August 21

WEDDING DANCE. Ampatuan massacre suspect Zaldy Ampatuan dancing with his daughter at her wedding reception on August 21. Photo by Tawi-Tawi Rep Ruby Sahali

MANILA, Philippines – Maguindanao massacre suspect and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan was allowed to leave jail to attend the wedding reception of his daughter on Tuesday, August 21.

Ampatuan was captured on video waltzing with his daughter Kristina on a dance floor in Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

The video was posted on Facebook at 7:17 pm on Tuesday by Tawi-Tawi Representative Ruby Sahali, one of the guests at the wedding.

“A dance between father and his daughter. What a sight to behold,” Sahali said.

Ampatuan is one of the suspected masterminds of the Maguindanao massacre in 2009, which left 58 people dead, most of whom were journalists.

At the time of the massacre, Ampatuan was the ARMM governor. He was expelled from the post after he was implicated in the crime and now faces 58 counts of murder.

Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Spokesperson Xavier Solda told Rappler that Ampatuan secured a court order allowing him to leave his cell at the Quezon City Hail Annex inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City from 4 pm to 7 pm on Tuesday.

Solda said Ampatuan was able to return to his cell before 7 pm. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.