50 more face slay raps for Maguindanao massacre
MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Justice on Tuesday concluded the first hearing of the preliminary investigation of a new batch of 50 suspects who allegedly participated in the planning, execution and coverup of the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre, in which 32 journalists were killed.
Among the new respondents are the mayors of four Maguindanao towns and 10 other members of the Ampatuan clan.
The five-member panel of prosecutors, headed by state prosecutor Niven Canlapan, gave the 50 respondents until April 16 to file their counteraffidavits after their lawyer asked to give them more time to reply.
Thirty complaint-affidavits were signed and sworn in at the hearing by private complainants, including Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.
“In the course of the Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre case, the witnesses presented in court have testified that several other persons who were not charged were involved in the planning, execution and coverup of what is known as the worst election-related case in the Philippines,” the complainants said in the affidavits.
Five other complaint-affidavits could not be sworn to because of the absence of the complainants, who have been ordered to appear at the DOJ and subscribe to their affidavits on April 7.
“The new cases will not cause a delay in the ongoing trial of the first batch of the Maguindanao massacre cases filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC),” Mangudadatu told reporters after the hearing.
The new suspects, who were named by prosecution witnesses at the ongoing trial of the first batch of accused, include members of the Ampatuan clan, including Mayors Jakub “Jack” Ampatuan Lumenda of Rajah Buayan, Reshal Ampatuan of Datu Unsay, Benzar Ampatuan of Mamasapano, and Zahara Upam Ampatuan of Shariff Aguak.
Zahara’s husband and predecessor as mayor, Anwar Ampatuan, is with the first batch of accused and is detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa jail in Taguig.
Other Ampatuan clan members named in the complaints were former Datu Saudi town mayor Nanun Ampatuan, Samsudin Ampatuan, Pandag Ampatuan, Amerah Ampatuan Mamalapat, Rebecca Ampatuan, Moning Ampatuan Asim, Harris Ampatuan Macapendeg, Kamad Ampatuan, Faizal Ampatuan and Kudzbari Ampatuan.
The other new suspects are Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) solicitor general and incumbent Cotabato City administrator Cynthia Guiani Sayani, Sukarto “Manguten/Teng” Singh, a certain Inspector Mariga of the Maguindanao police, Samer “Mama” Uy, Kage Ali Midtimbang, Kage Melo Lumenda, Farid Adas, Dali “Kumander Boy” Kamendan, Rowel Santiago;
Kempar Silongan, Kamsa “Kudta” Salik, Sangutin Musa, Daud “Kumander Kwatro” Kamendan, Digo Mamalapat, Monir Asim Sr., Kuka Ebos, Mautin Upam, Tamano “Barakuda” Sabpa, Borgo “Rey” Kasan, Salahudin “Tho” Uday, Hashim “Mistro” Esmael, Joel Tatak, Rene Upam, Kaking Inggo; a certain policeman surnamed Biton;
Allandatu Angas, Roger Mamalo, Jainodin “Zainodin” Abutazil, Manak Malaguial; Kabili Sumagkang; Ben Carandang; Kage Sabog; Abusama Simpal, a certain “Kumander Ukay” Simpal; and several other John Does and Jane Does.
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