Another Maguindanao massacre witness killed in ambush
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A witness in the Maguindanao massacre case was killed and another wounded in an ambush in Shariff Aguak town on Tuesday, November 18, barely a week before the 5th year commemoration of the country's worst election-related violence.
Authorities identified the victims as Dennix Sakal, who died from multiple gunshot wounds, and Butch Saudagal – both former employees of former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr, the prime suspect in the case.
Sakal, a former driver of Ampatuan, died before he could be brought to a local hospital while Saudagal, said to be a former Ampatuan bag man, was severely wounded and is now in an undisclosed hospital for treatment.
The two victims were on a tricycle, on their way to a meeting with prosecution lawyers in Buluan to formalize their participation in the case as witnesses, when they were fired upon in Barangay Bagong, a remote village in Shariff Aguak.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu condemned the attack, which has dealt another blow on their case against the Ampatuans.
“That's why I cautioned them (witnesses) to be extra careful in their everyday dealings. The suspects are desperate enough to find way to strike against those who will put them down," said Mangudadatu, when asked about the incident.
Police Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson, Maguindanao police director, said authorities have identified the suspects and are finalizing cases to be filed against them.
On November 23, 2009, vehicles bearing Mangudadatu's relatives and supporters, and the media were in a convoy headed to the provincial capital to file Mangudadatu's certificate of candidacy for governor, when they were attacked, reportedly on orders of his political rival, the Ampatuans.
A total of 58 people were killed, including 32 journalists and Mangadadatu's wife, Genalyn. – Rappler.com