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Mangudadatu expects ‘100% guilty’ verdict on Maguindanao massacre masterminds

JC Gotinga
Mangudadatu expects ‘100% guilty’ verdict on Maguindanao massacre masterminds

LeAnne Jazul

Esmael 'Toto' Mangudadatu's wife and sisters were among 58 people killed when gunmen sidetracked the convoy that was about to file his gubernatorial candidacy on November 23, 2009

MANILA, Philippines
– Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu said on Thursday, December 19, that he expects a “100% guilty” verdict on the alleged masterminds of the massacre that killed his wife and sisters a decade ago.

Arriving at the court compound of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City at around 7:30 am, Mangudadatu told reporters he was optimistic that he and the relatives of other victims would win the case, to be resolved Thursday after a trial that ran for more than 9 years.

Alam kong babatayan natin ‘yung, 58 lives ‘yun eh (I know we will base it on the fact that those were 58 lives),” he said, adding that of the 101 suspects who stood trial for murder, those most guilty should be meted the maximum penalty.

“Dapat, guilty 100%…may mga nasali raw doon na medyo ano, pero doon sa mga major suspects, itong mga participants ng pag-slaughter ng 58 lives, kailangan 100% doon,” Mangudadatu said.

(It should be 100% guilty…there were some who got dragged in there…but those major suspects, these participants in the slaughter of 58 lives, it should be 100% for them.)

The principal accused in the case are the Ampatuan brothers Andal Jr, Zaldy, and Sajid Islam, who allegedly conspired and carried out the grisly plot to murder Mangdudadatu’s wife Genalin, and his sisters Eden and Farinah, as they were about to file his candidacy for Maguindanao governor on November 23, 2009.

Gunmen blocked and hijacked the convoy led by Genalin Mangudadatu accompanied by 57 other people including 32 journalists. They were led to a mountainous area, where they were shot dead and buried in mass graves.

The Ampatuan clan has long held power in Maguindanao, and Mangudadatu’s candidacy then was a challenge to their stranglehold on the province.

The clan patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr., was said to be the main mastermind, and stood trial until he died of cancer in 2015.

“Malaking mensahe ang maipapakita sa mga kababayan po namin, ‘di lang sa Maguindanao…na tama na ‘yung power na pinapasobra, na ‘yung palagay nila na kapitulado sa kanila ‘yung power na ‘yun,” Mangudadatu said of his political rivals, and the alleged killers of his loved ones.

(We can show an important message to our fellow citizens, not just in Maguindanao…that we’ve had enough of excessive power, the way that they felt entitled to power.)

Mangudadatu won as governor of Maguindanao in 2010, beating Andal Ampatuan Jr – and the court’s verdict to be handed down Thursday will determine whether justice would be served for the spilled blood that bolstered his own political career. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.