Mangudadatu: Guilty verdict in Maguindanao massacre case to curb abuse of power
MANILA, Philippines — The possible guilty verdict on members of the Ampatuan clan implicated in the Maguindanao massacre will show the world that abusive political power will eventually come to an end, Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu said on Thursday.
“Malaking mensahe na maipakita sa mga kababayan natin hindi lang sa Maguindanao kundi sa buong Pilipinas, buong mundo na tama na ‘yung power na pinapasobra, ‘yun bang palagay nila nakatitulado sa kanila yung power na ‘yun hindi na mawawala,” he said in a chance interview upon his arrival at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, where the promulgation on the 10-year-old case will be held later in the day.
(This will be a message not just to the people of Maguindanao but to the entire Philippines and the world that abusive power must and will stop, that their belief that they are entitled to power and that it will never end is not true.)
“Hindi ito parang mawawala lang kapag ni-relinquish mo. May termino ito at dapat ipakita sa taong-bayan na ikaw ay utusan lang,” said the congressman.
(It is not something that will only be gone once you relinquish your post. A government post has a term and we should show the public that government officials are mere servants of the people)
Moments before the promulgation starts, Mangudadatu said he hopes for a guilty verdict for the primary accused in the massacre, which left 58 people dead including 32 journalists on November 23, 2009.
The victims were on a convoy heading to Comelec provincial office in Shariff Aguak town to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for governor of Maguindanao when they were waylaid and eventually killed.
Mangudadatu lost his wife and several female relatives in the gruesome incident.
At that time, the incumbent governor was the alleged brains of the massacre, Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. His son and namesake Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. was gunning to be his successor.
The elder Ampatuan died in 2015.
Ten years after the massacre that had been tagged as the country’s worst election-related violence and one of the deadliest attacks against journalists, Mangudadatu recounted his dream of “liberating” the province from the hands of the powerful Ampatuan clan.
“‘Yun ang pangarap ko, magkaroon ng malayang pamayanan doon sa probinsya ng Maguindanao (That is my dream, for Maguindanao to have a free community),” he added.
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