MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (December 4, 2018) – Proclamation No. 1959, declared by Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009 December 4th, suspended the writ of habeas corpus and placed this province under State of Emergency after Mangudadatu clan challenge the heavy Ampatuan clan in 2010 preceding Election.
Former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Regional Governor Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Zaldy Ampatuan, who have been listed as a major ally of Arroyo in Mindanao, had been control in Maguindanao since 2001. Arroyo is now an elected House Speaker by 184 members.
November 23, 2009: Buluan vice mayor Esmail “Toto” Mangudadatu and his companions were on their way to file certificate of candidacy (CoC), challenging son of Ampatuan Sr. mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. in 2010 elections, but then 58 of them were kidnapped and killed including 32 journalists in Ampatuan town.
Within the 8-day state of Martial Law, authorities have raid on a warehouse owned by Andal Jr. which resulted in the confiscated of more than 330,000 rounds of 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition, a Humvee, and an improvised armored vehicle.
After the incident, Captain James Nicolas of Special Forces retrieves high powered firearms and ammo, 20 militiamen were arrested on the premises, and then this province was lifted from Martial Law in December 13, 2009.
At least 197 suspects, 117 have been arrested and arraigned until this year, 80 other suspects still at-large in the country’s political tragedy, and the world’s most fatal attack on the media men.
Lawyer Nena Santos, on citing court records this quarter, said there were a total of 97 suspects but only 104 are in custody because 13 have died in detention, including Andal Sr. who freed for lack of evidences or turned state witness.
Records from intelligence units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the Regional Police Office-ARMM indicated that at least five witnesses to the massacre have mysteriously been killed one after another in the past six years.
Government and private prosecutors have finished with the presentation of pieces of evidence and witnesses, while the defense has been given time to make further manifestation only within this year, according to Santos.
Governor Esmail “Toto” Mangudadatu on massacre’s 9th anniversary this year said complainants seeks a mass conviction of all arraigned suspects, not on installment basis, after he refused the offering message worth of P100 million pesos in exchange to withdraw the case.
Two months or so ago after Mangudadatu and other relatives of the victims appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to hear on the case, former Palace spokesperson Harry Roque announced that President Duterte had instructed the government prosecution to secure court conviction within this year.
Santos expressed hope that the President will compel the Department of Justice to provide assistance to the families and the witnesses through its Witness Protection Program.