Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Andal Ampatuan Jr. carried out massacre, says witness

01/27/2010 | 01:34 PM

Andal Ampatuan Jr. carried out the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province last November 23, having ordered victims to lie face down and later checking their faces one by one before they were brought to a nearby hill and gunned to death.

The Datu Unsay town mayor's black pick-up was at the scene of the bloodbath, with two women forced to enter the vehicle at one point before the killings, witness Mohammad Sangki told a Quezon City court on Wednesday.

Mohammad, a Sangguinang Bayan official in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao, corroborated the testimony of his nephew, Amapatuan town Vice-Mayor Rasul Sangki, who took the witness stand two weeks ago.

The court is hearing multiple murder charges against Ampatuan Jr., who has applied for bail.

In his testimony, Mohammad claimed to have received a call on November 19 from Datu Bahnarin Ampatuan — Ampatuan Jr.'s brother and mayor of Mamasapano town — ordering him to deploy a police auxiliary force in Crossing Saniag until December 2.

Crossing Saniag is in Ampatuan town, an area two minutes away from the Sitio Malating checkpoint where the convoy led by the wife of Buluan Vice Mayor Ismael "Toto" Mangudadatu was ambushed last November 23.

Police deployment

Mohammad Sangki said Bahnarin had told him to coordinate with Tammy Masukat, a Sangguniang Bayan member in Mamasapano town, for the police deployment.

He told the court presided by Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes that Masukat had told him the police team was in preparation for the convoy coming from Buluan town.

A day later, on November 20, he and Masukat went to the home of Ampatuan Jr. in Shariff Aguak, where the mayor gave him P15,000 to buy food for the police team at Crossing Saniag.

During the weekend of November 21 and 22, Mohammad said he was with his family in Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

On the morning of November 23, the witness said he was surprised that several checkpoints had been set up in Ampatuan town.

He then went to the Sangguniang Bayan in Ampatuan town capitol, where he saw his nephew, Vice-Mayor Raul Sangki. The two went to Crossing Saniag, where they both saw Ampatuan Jr. with several armed men.

At about 10 a.m. that day, Mohammad and Rasul proceeded to Sitio Malating in a car to meet with Ampatuan Jr.'s group.

He said his nephew had told him that the convoy of the Mangudadatus was already there.

Mohammad said he saw two women being forced to enter Andal Jr.'s black pick-up.

He also said he saw the convoy's passengers being forced to lie face down, with Andal Jr. checking their faces one by one.

The convoy was later told to proceed to Sitio Malasay, two kilometers away from the checkpoint.

According to Mohammad, Rasul had told him to remain on the highway. Rasul then went with Ampatuan Jr. (See Andal Sr. hatched Nov. 23 massacre — witness)

After hearing successive gunfire for 30 minutes, Rasul returned and told him that the shooting had been orchestrated by Ampatuan Jr., Datu Kanor Ampatuan, Datu Bahnarin Ampatuan, a certain Datu Uka and the armed men they were with.

The trial was ongoing as of posting time.

Expected to testify later in the day is Toto Mangudadatu himself. It will be his first time to take the witness stand. His wife Genalyn was among those killed in the massacre.

Earlier in the day, Geoffrey Lizada of Smart Communications, Inc. authenticated the billing statement of Genalyn from November 17 to December 18, 2009.

Genalyn supposedly phoned her husband that she had seen Ampatuan Jr., his husband's political rival, among the men who had blocked the convoy. — NPA, RJAB Jr./GMANews.TV

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