Latest Stories

Alleged backhoe operator in Maguindanao massacre dropped as state witness


Site of the Maguindanao massacre. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The alleged backhoe operator in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre has been dropped as a prosecution witness and will instead be charged as one of 195 accused.

State prosecutors have asked a Quezon City court to immediately arraign Bong Andal, the alleged backhoe operator who dug the grave of 58 massacre victims, 32 of whom were media workers.

Prosecution panel head Archimedes Manabat said their decision to drop Andal as witness had something to do with the court testimony of state witness Sukarno Badal.

The state prosecutors, in a motion to withdraw their petition for the exclusion of Andal as an accused in the massacre case filed with Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, said they have decided to do away with Andal’s offer to testify for the prosecution.

“After a thoughtful consideration that the matters he (Andal) would testify on had already been covered by the testimony given in open court on February 14, 20, 21, and 27, by Sukarno Badal, who was recently dropped and excluded from the information, the panel of public prosecutors reached a decision not to present Bong Andal anymore as a witness,” the motion read.

The Ampatuans, the primary accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, had previously rejected the bid of Andal to turn state witness claiming that the Maguindanao provincial government employee and backhoe operator was disqualified under the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act.

“There is no absolute necessity for Bong Andal’s testimony. The prosecution has presented at least four alleged eyewitnesses, the character of whose testimonies were confirmed by this honorable Court. The alleged eyewitnesses had testified on the supposed planning and cover-up of the massacre,” they had argued.

The state prosecutors further asked Reyes that their petition to discharge Andal as an accused be expunged from the court records and asked that the backhoe operator be detained at the Quezon City Jail-Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Reyes meanwhile scheduled the arraignment of four of the 195 accused in the Maguindanao massacre for Wednesday at the makeshift court in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Reyes directed the warden of the Quezon City Jail-Annex to make sure that former Mamasapano town councilman Talembo Masukat, Dexson Saptula, Norhato Kamino and Abedin Alamada are present for their arraignment.

Masukat was arrested on Feb. 16 after he and several other armed men engaged members of the Army 45th Infantry Battalion at Barangay (village) Manungkaling, Mamasapano town in Maguindanao.

Masukat carried a P300,000 reward for his arrest as one of suspects in the massacre of 58 persons in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.

Masukat was identified as a trusted aide of Mamasapano town mayor Bahnarin Ampatuan, another accused in the massacre and grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. He had also worked as a driver for the ex-governor’s eldest daughter, Bai Rebecca Ampatuan.

Datu Abdullah Sangki town councilor Mohammad Sangki had said it was Masukat who relayed to him the alleged plan to block the Mangudadatu convoy and who deployed on Nov. 19, four days before the massacre, a dozen members of a civilian auxiliary unit to a checkpoint at Crossing Saniag in Sitio Masalay. The checkpoint was near the site of the grisly killings.

Saptula, on the other hand, was arrested on July 19, 2012 in Sarangani province and is identified as a former Ampatuan employee.

Kamino, also an alleged Ampatuan clan employee, disappeared after the massacre. He was arrested on Oct. 21, 2012 in Glan town, Sarangani province after finding work at a banana plantation.

Alamada is an alleged former militiaman and armed follower of the Ampatuans suspected of taking part in the killings. He carried a P250,000 bounty and was arrested on Nov. 1, 2012 in South Cotabato.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bong Andal , Crime , Justice , law , Maguindanao massacre

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace