Mangudadatu wants death penalty for Maguindanao massacre principal suspects
MANILA, Philippines — Maguindanao Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu said Wednesday he wants the death penalty for the principal suspects in the Maguindanao massacre, a decade-old case tagged as the most violent election-related incident in Philippine history.
“Dapat lang. Dapat lang (It is just proper),” he said when asked in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel if he believes that capital punishment, which has yet to be approved by Congress, “would have been apt” for the case.
But Mangudadatu also said that should the suspects be declared guilty for the November 23, 2009 massacre, they should serve hundreds of years in jail for the death of 58 people, including his wife and 32 media practitioners.
He said he would also accept whatever will be the decision on the case during the promulgation at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on December 19, but repeated his earlier vow to resign as a member of Congress if the court fails to rule in favor of the victims.
Mangudadatu then turned emotional during the interview when he narrated the ordeal his children had to go through after the massacre.
“Alam mo ‘yung pag-aralin mo ‘yung mga anak mo na hindi nila apelyido, kakausapin mo ‘yung eskwelahan na pwede bang hindi i-reveal ‘yung apelyido ko? Nagkawatak-watak ‘yung mga anak ko eh,” he said in tears.
(Do you know the feeling of sending your kids to school and they cannot use their surname? When you talk to school administrators and ask if they can not reveal my kids’ surname? My children have been separated from each other.)
“Minsan para akong nag-a-abroad na isang linggo bago ko makita ‘yung mga anak ko. Makikita ko na lang, kapag gabi aalis ako kasi wala akong matulugan na permanente kasi takot ako eh, at ayoko sila madamay. Mahal ko sila, at ‘yung hirap na para bang ikaw nag-iisang nagaaruga sa lahat. Nakapahirap. Sobra,” he also said.
(Sometimes it’s as if I work abroad because I rarely see my children. When I see them, I have to go at night because I can’t sleep at their place out of fear that they may be harmed. I love them, and it is really hard to take care of them alone. It is really hard.)
Despite all the hardships brought by the quest for justice that had been elusive for 10 years, Mangudadatu said he had resolved to continue seeking for it even if he will have to do it alone.
The trial of the Maguindanao massacre started on September 8, 2010. The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the case.
As the hearings were ongoing, Andal Ampatuan Sr., patriarch of the Ampatuan clan and the principal accused in the case died at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute on July 17, 2015.
Edited by MUF
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