The “Maguindanao Massacre” has been considered as one of the deadliest election-related violence in the world. It was also the bloodiest and tragic day for the journalists in the Philippines.
KAMI learned that there were a total of 58 people killed in the bloody massacre. 32 of them were members of the media, 15 were relatives and supporters of Toto Mangudadatu, 6 were passers-by, 2 lawyers, 2 drivers, and father of one of the lawyers
In a report by the Inquirer, the Maguindanao Massacre all began on November 23, 2009.
Former Buluan Vice Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu sent his wife, Genalyn, and other female relatives to file his certificate of candidacy as governor prior to the May 2010 elections. He opted to stay at home after he had been receiving death threats.
For added protection, they also invited a group of journalists, media practitioners, and even military and police assistance to cover the filing of candidacy.
The Mangudadatu convoy passed through a checkpoint in the Ampatuan town. A large group of armed men flagged down at least the five vehicles in the convoy and ordered to go to different locations where three mass graves had already been prepared.
A yellow backhoe was seen at Brgy. Salman and the words “Property of the province of Maguindanao – Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr.” were written on it. The said backhoe was reportedly used to dig the mass graves.
A witness claimed that she saw Genalyn Mangudadatu, the wife of Toto, being pulled out from the car and she was slapped by Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., the mayor of Maguindanao province, who was also planning to succeed his father, Andal Ampatuan Sr. as the governor.
“Andal Ampatuan Jr. opened the car that carried Bai Gigi Mangudadatu and pulled her out of the car. I saw Bai Gigi talking with someone over her cellphone. Andal Ampatuan Jr. slapped her and her phone dropped,” the witness said.
“We brought the Mangudadatu convoy to the inner portion of Brgy. Salman. Andal Ampatuan Jr. ordered everyone in the convoy to get off their vehicles, then he and my fellow armed men fired shots at them. Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his men repeatedly shot Bai Gigi until she died,” she added.
The Ampatuan clan was accused of being the mastermind behind the Maguindanao massacre.
197 people were originally accused as part of the killings and 28 of them carry the surname Ampatuan. About 117 of the suspects were arrested, 90 were detained, 11 were out on bail, 8 died while in detention, 6 had their cases dismissed, 2 were discharged as a state witness, while 80 people were still at large.
After 10 years of trial, Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes announced the verdict last Thursday, December 19, 2019.
Among those found guilty of murder were Andal Ampatuan Jr, Zaldy Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan Sr, Ipi Ampatuan, and Ulo Ampatuan. Meanwhile, Sajid Islam Ampatuan and Tato Ampatuan Sr. were acquitted.
In a report by the CNN Philippines, they were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or a maximum of 40 years in jail without parole. They were also ordered to pay millions of pesos for the damages they caused the victims’ families.
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