Mom of Ampatuan massacre victim says she was shocked 1 accused living near her
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The mother of one of the victims of the 2009 Ampatuan massacre was shocked to find out that one of the accused in the mass murder had been roaming freely near where she lived.
The accused, Nasser Adam, was arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at the village of Mohan, Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental province last Aug. 21.
Assuming the fictitious name Umar Kasim, the Adam has been working as a security guard at a beverage manufacturing plant in Mohon before he was found and arrested by the CIDG.
The CIDG learned that Adam had moved to Misamis Oriental in December 2019 after staying in Metro Manila for a time.
Catherine Nuñez, whose son UNTV reporter Victor Nuñez was among those massacred, said she was horrified to learn that Adam was just hiding in plain sight in Tagoloan for months.
Nuñez, who hails from Cotabato City, has been living in one of the towns in Misamis Oriental even before her son was killed in 2009.
“At first I felt afraid,” she said. “I was not aware that one of the accused was living nearby. I thought they went to the mountains with the rebels,” she said in an interview.
“But I told myself, I must not be afraid anymore. I leave it all to God to protect me,” she said in a phone interview on Monday (Aug. 24).
Nuñez’ son, Victor, was among the 32 media workers killed in the massacre. A total of 58 people were murdered. He had joined the convoy of media workers invited by Esmael Mangudadatu to cover him to file a certificate of candidacy for governor against Andal Ampatuan Jr., of the then powerful Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao.
The convoy, led by Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, and other relatives was stopped at a checkpoint and the victims were executed at the village of Salman, Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.
In her verdict on Dec. 19, 2019, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes acquitted 56 suspects and convicted 28 persons but reports said 80 individuals accused in the massacre were still at large.
Nuñez said it would be better for the suspects, who were still in hiding, to turn themselves in.
“I hope they surrender and face the charges. Let the court decide if they are guilty or innocent. If they are innocent, they will be acquitted,” she said.
Nuñez said she could no longer feel the anger and resentment she felt and that she no longer wished ill to the people involved in the massacre.
“These people were just being used by the Ampatuans. They are victims, too. It should be the Ampatuans who must be punished,” she added.
Nuñez recalled that back in 2011, a few months after the massacre, a group of men went to her neighborhood asking for her whereabouts.
Lawyer Harry Roque, then a legal counsel for the families of Ampatuan massacre victims, advised her to go to Manila for a while. She stayed there for a week.
After that, she no longer heard about people looking for her and her family.
Nuñez said she was still waiting for the court-approved compensation promised to the families of the massacre victims.
She said her family had been expecting to receive P2.1 million in damages.