Mangudadatu clan yearning for judicial closure to massacre case

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES  • Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:05 AM  •  899   0
By John Unson
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Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu. (file)
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu. (file)
MAGUINDANAO --- Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu on Saturday commemorated the 26th anniversary of his wedding to the late Genalyn wishing justice for her and the 57 other victims of the Maguindanao massacre. 

The slain Genalyn left the governor eight children, the eldest, Jhazzer, now an incumbent member of the Maguindanao provincial board. 

“I wish our children and all the relatives of other victims would see the wheel of justice roll over the culprits during the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. I’m hoping that would happen before I bow down from public service when my third and last term end in 2019,” Mangudadatu said on Sunday. 

The massacre victims, among them 38 journalists, were to deliver on November 23, 2009 Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for Maguindanao governor during the May 2010 elections to the office of the provincial election supervisor in Shariff Aguak town when alleged members of the Ampatuan clan flagged their convoy down.   

The suspects, backed by their private militia, herded them to a hilly area in Sitio Salman in Barangay Masalay in Ampatuan municipality, also in Maguindanao, where they were killed using machineguns and assault rifles.

The warlord-patriarch then of the Ampatuan family, the former Gov. Andal Ampatuan, Sr., did not want the supposed candidacy for the same post of his son, Andal, Jr., most known as “Datu Unsay,” challenged by any contender. 

The older Ampatuan, tagged as key plotter of the carnage, the country’s worst election-related violence ever, died of liver cancer while in detention in connection with the incident. 

The Ampatuans then were feared for their absolute intolerance for political opposition. 

Mangudadatu, then vice mayor of Buluan town, and his siblings and other relatives, all scions of Maguindanao’s Rajah Buayan nobility, did not resort to retaliations despite the bitter affront to their “maratabat,” or clan pride and honor. 

“We are fighting the legal way, through the court, in seeking justice. As to when shall we wait, we don’t know. We are knocking on the heart of President Duterte,” Mangudadatu said. 

Senior Ampatuan clan members, among them Zaldy, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, are still being prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the Maguindanao massacre. 

Organizers are now preparing for the Nov.23 commemoration of the 7th year of the Maguindanao massacre at Barangay Masalay.
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