Sara Duterte confirms, Bong Go denies invitation to Ampatuan daughter's wedding

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — As if Zaldy Ampatuan's presence was not controversial enough, his daughter's wedding invitation listed the presidential daughter and top aide as principal sponsors.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Friday confirmed she was invited to the wedding last Tuesday night, but said she failed to come.

"We received a written invitation but I was not able to attend the reception," Duterte-Carpio said in a text message to reporters.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go said he did not know he was listed as among the 60 godparents, with other former and incumbent government officials.

"Usual practice 'di nagpapaalam, nilalagay name niyo kahit di kayo nag ok (It's usual practice to put your name there without permission)," Go said in another text message.

In Filipino weddings, however, the groom and bride ask potential godparents, even sending them gifts, prior to the ceremony.

The list of wedding sponsors circulated on social media and was condemned by some netizens, with one viral post calling it "one of the most chilling documents" she has ever seen.

Photos of the wedding ceremony gained attention due to the presence of Ampatuan, former governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and one of the main suspects to the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre that left 58 people dead. The casualties included 32 media workers, some civilians, and some members of the Mangudadatu family – a rival political family of the Ampatuans.

Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte was "dismayed" by Ampatuan's temporary release. The Justice Department also said its prosecutors "vigorously opposed" Ampatuan's motion for furlough to attend his daughter's wedding at a five-star luxury hotel in Manila from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. last Tuesday. But the Quezon City Regional Trial Court allowed Ampatuan's temporary release for humanitarian reasons, so Ampatuan could "bring his eldest daughter to the altar."

Some family members of the Maguindanao massacre victims said they were not informed of Ampatuan's appeal, adding they would have done everything to stop it had they known about it.

Only 116 of the 197 original suspects facing multiple murder charges over the Maguindanao massacre have been arrested. Of this number, 107 remain on trial while five were dismissed. Ampatuan's father and co-accused, Andal Ampatuan, Sr. died in 2015 due to complications from liver cancer.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.