Maguindanao massacre: How to explain Ampatuan affidavits?
MANILA, Philippines – How was Mayor Bai Reshal Ampatuan of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao able to subscribe her own affidavit before the Cotabato City prosecutor when she has a standing warrant of arrest? Lawyers of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre victims were puzzled by this.
During the third preliminary hearing of the second batch of suspects of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case, lawyer Nena Santos, counsel of Maguindanao Governor Toto Mangudadatu, asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel hearing the case, not to accept the counter-affidavit executed by Bai Reshal, Zahara Ampatuan, Kuka Ebos, Ruel Santiago, and Salamuddin Dulay.
Since respondents Bai Reshal and Zahara Ampatuan had pending warrants of arrest for the alleged murder of their uncle, prosecutors should not have been able to subscribe to their affidavits.
“Our agreement is for the respondents to subscribe their counter-affidavit before the panel handling the case and not in any other prosecutor. Kung nakapag-subscribe sila ng affidavit nila sa prosecutor sa Cotabato despite their warrants of arrest, bakit di sila makapunta dito (to Cotabato’s Regional Trial Court)?” Santos told reporters in an ambush interview after the hearing.
(If they were able to subscribe to an affidavit to the prosecutor in Cotabato despite their warrants of arrest, why can’t they come here?)
Assistant State Prosecutor Jocelyn Dugay told Reshal’s lawyers that the affidavits of Reshal and 4 other respondents will be marked as received but not accepted. She also told the lawyers to justify acceptance of the documents.
Last March, Mangudadatu sought the indictment of 50 more individuals, including 4 town mayors, before the DOJ in connection with the 2009 Maguindanao massacre that left 58 persons, including 32 journalists, dead.
A 5-member panel of state prosecutors, headed by assistant city prosecutor Niven Canlapan was formed by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano to handle the new complaint filed by Mangudadatu.
Charged before the DOJ were former Solicitor General of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and current City Administrator of Cotabato City, Atty. Cynthia Guiani Sayadi; Mamasapano, Maguindanao Mayor Benzar Ampatuan; Rajah Buayan Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan; Sukarto “Manguten/Teng” Singh; one Inspector Mariga of the Maguindanao police; Samer “Mama” Uy; Samsudin Ampatuan; Kage Ali Midtimbang; Kage Melo Lumenda; Farid Adas; Nanun Ampatuan; Pandag Ampatuan; Amerah Ampatuan Mamalapat; Rebecca Ampatuan; Datu Unsay Mayor Reshal Santiago Ampatuan; Dali “Kumander Boy” Kamendan; Shariff Aguak Mayor Sahara Upam Ampatuan; Rowel Santiago; Kempar Silongan; Kamsa “Kudta” Salik; Sangutin Musa; Daud “Kumander Kwatro” Kamendan; Digo Mamalapat; Monir Asim Sr.; Monng Ampatuan Asim; Harris Ampatuan Macapendeg; Kuka Ebos; Mautin Upam; Tamano “Barakuda” Sabpa; Borgo “Rey” Kasan, Salahudin “Tho” Uday; Hashim; “Mistro” Esmael; Joel Tatak, Rene Upam; Kaking Inggo; a certain policeman Biton; Allandatu Angas; Roger Mamalo; Jainodin “Zainodin” Abutazil; Manak Malaguial; Kabili Sumagkang; Ben Carandang; Kage Sabog; Abusama Simpal; Kamad Ampatuan; Faizal Ampatuan; Kudzbari L. Ampatuan; Kumander Ukay Simpal; and several other unnamed individuals.
Mangudadatu said the new case against a new set of accused would not delay the ongoing trial of the first batch of accused.
The new case came after “many witnesses came out to tell what they personally know about the horrible incident” after sensing a “change of political atmosphere,” Mangudadatu said. – Rappler.com