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POLICE SAY
Last phone call of Mangudadatuís wife crucial in prosecution

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:37:00 11/25/2009

Filed Under: Maguindanao Massacre, Election Violence, Eleksyon 2010, Elections

MANILA, Philippines?The supposed last mobile phone call made by the wife of Buluan town vice mayor Ishmael "Toto" Mangudadatu is crucial in the prosecution of suspects in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre, a police-lawyer said Wednesday.

"The statement coming from a dying person is very crucial in this case," said Superintendent Anthony Llamas of the PNP Legal Service.

Mangudadatu said he received a text message from his wife, shortly before the massacre, that their six-car convoy had been blocked by men of the Ampatuans and that Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. had even slapped her.

Mangudadatu said that was the last conversation he had with his wife.

To date, 52 bodies have been found, most of them were exhumed from a shallow grave.

The last conversation, Llamas said, was called as res gestae, a declaration after a startling incident.

"In the last phone conversation, there would seem like a mention of a name. This is being considered by the PNP in the possible filing of case," Llamas said.

He added, however, that police should first prove the existence of the phone call since it was a private conversation. Next, investigators should then look at the name and the involvement of the persons mentioned in the phone call.

Meanwhile, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina said that all the names implicated in the Maguindanao massacre, such as members of the Ampatuan clan, were only "possible suspects."

This, he said, meant that the police did not have any solid evidence that could formally implicate them.

"Investigators are presently documenting all the evidence against all persons in these heinous crime," Espina said.

"We are working round the clock for the early prosecution of those involved," he added.



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