Former Ampatuan ally tags Andal Jr., Ampatuan clan members as massacre gunmen
MANILA, Philippines — More than two years after his surrender, accused-turned-state-witness Sultan sa Barongis vice mayor Sukarno Badal was finally able to give his testimony on the Maguindanao massacre in court.
Badal, at the continuation of the trial on Wednesday at a makeshift court in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, identified several Ampatuan clan members, including principal accused Andal Ampatuan Jr., as the gunmen in the murder of 58 people in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province on Nov. 23, 2009.
Badal testified that he saw Andal Jr. shoot and kill the wife of then Buluan mayor and now Maguindanao governor Esmael Mangudadatu, said lead state prosecutor Archimedes Manabat in a phone interview.
The victims, including 32 journalists, were in a convoy to Shariff Aguak to file Mangudadatu’s candidacy in 2010 when they were stopped and shot dead by more than a hundred armed men.
The massacre was allegedly planned by then Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., his namesake son, then the mayor of Unsay town, among others from the political clan.
When asked who else he saw shooting the victims at the massacre site, Badal gave around 10 names, including “several Ampatuans,” Manabat said. This included Datu Kanor, Datu Nords, Datu Pandag, Datu Bahnarin, Datu Ulo and Misuari Ampatuan.
In an earlier hearing, Badal said he was present in meetings held to plan ways to stop Mangudadatu from filing his candidacy. He identified Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his two sons Andal Jr. and Zaldy, as well as Maguindanao police provincial chief, Inspector Sukarno Dicay, as being present in the meetings.
Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Branch 221, who has been hearing the case, allowed the discharge of Badal as state witness last Feb. 14. Badal, formerly an Ampatuan ally, surrendered to the authorities in November 2010.
Badal is scheduled to be cross-examined by defense lawyers on Thursday.