SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao – Former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr, the primary suspect in the infamous Maguindanao massacre, was laid to his final resting place.
Andal Sr, who succumbed to liver cancer Friday evening at the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI), was buried at the back of his residential home here with close family members, relatives and supporter-friends in attendance.
The media were barred from entering the compound during the burial.
One of the relatives said the family requested privacy during the Islamic burial rites which came before 3 pm Saturday, July 18.
The remains of a man who ruled Maguindanao for a decade with an iron fist arrived in Maguindanao through a regular Manila-Cotabato commercial flight at the Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
His casket was loaded on a family-owned SUV with relatives and supporters joining the convoy on board flashy cars.
Last signs of power
At past 12 noon, a convoy of luxury cars arrived with the ambulance lead car providing siren and hazard signals, reminiscent of the days when he was still in power and moving around with several cars with police and Army escorts.
The SUV that carried the Ampatuan patriarch’s remains entered his home along the national highway in Poblacion Shariff Aguak. As soon as the SUV entered a pick-up vehicle blocked the main gate, preventing other vehicles from entering.
Visitors, politicians, local leaders, friends, former officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) followed inside, but the media were barred.
Some close relatives failed to come closer to the burial site because of their affiliation with the Ampatuans’ political rival – the Mangudadatus.
Among them was former Maguindanao Board Member Yasser Ampatuan who really wanted to pay his last respect to his uncle. He opted not to show up at the burial ceremonies.
The burial ceremonies ended at about 2:45 pm but other relatives stayed at the compound.
Ampatuan Sr, along with his son, Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr, is the principal accused in the massacre of 58 individuals in Sityo Masalay, Ampatuan, Maguindanao in November 2009. There are 100 co-accused in the Maguindanao massacre case, the most violent election-related incident in recent Philippine history.
The Ampatuan clan was believed to have plotted the massacre to thwart the gubernatorial candidacy of rival Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu for the 2010 May elections.
Mangudadatu sent a convoy of vehicles that included his wife, lawyers and other female relatives to file his certificate of candidacy in Sultan Kudarat. Thirty-two journalists were present to cover Mangudadatu’s candidacy. The convoy, among them two civilian vehicles, was stopped at a hillside by waiting gunmen.
Some of the bullet-riddled bodies were found in the open field by the police. More had been buried on the same day, along with several of the vehicles.
In a statement, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said that families of victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre will continue their quest for justice even after the death of Ampatuan Sr. – Rappler.com
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