Ampatuan patriarch in coma

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 July) – Andal Ampatuan, Sr., former Maguindanao governor and patriarch of a clan that ruled the province for at least a decade, and principal suspect in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons in Ampatuan, town, Maguindanao has been in coma at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City since Monday morning, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Salvador Panelo told ABS-CBN News Tuesday evening that Ampatuan Sr., who was admitted at the hospital on June 5 and diagnosed with liver cancer, had a massive heart attack Monday morning.

Panelo said they filed three motions to be heard in court Wednesday for his detained sons to visit him at the hospital.

Detained along with him for the 2009 massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, are his sons Zaldy, second-term governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at the time of the massacre; Anwar, then mayor of Shariff Aguak; and Andal “Datu Unsay” Ampatuan, Jr., then mayor of Datu Unsay town, who is believed to have led the armed men who flagged down the convoy of the emissaries of political ally-turned-rival Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu and herded them off to the massacre site in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.

Sajid, the patriarch’s youngest son and running mate in the 2007 polls, was released on bail on March 9 this year, upon payment of P11.6 million or P200,000 each for the 58 cases of murder.

A handwritten certificate by Dr. Jade Jamias of the NKTI on June 26 said the Ampatuan patriarch is “currently being managed as a case of advanced liver cancer with signs of decompensation,” and the prognosis is “currently dim as pharmacologic intervention is limited.”

“Expected life expectancy for such case is usually 3-6 (three to six) months but may be shorter if the liver function will continuously and progressively deteriorate,” Jamias said.

Jamias’ certification was used as “Annex A” of the manifestation made by Ampatuan’s son, Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., also known as Datu Unsay, submitted to the Regioanl Trial Court Branch 221, to allow him to visit his father.

Ampatuan Sr., served as long-time mayor of Shariff Aguak before he was elected governor of Maguindanao in 2001. In the 2007 polls for his third term, he ran for governor with youngest son Sajid as candidate for vice governor.

He and his sons Zaldy, Anwar, Sajid and son-in-law Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan, then mayor of Mamasapano town, were arrested hours after martial law was declared in Maguindanao and neighboring areas on December 5, 2009.

Andal Ampatuan Jr. or Datu Unsay was handed over by then ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan to then Chief Preidential Legal Counsel Jesus Dureza who was designated crisis manager, and Chief Supt. Felizardo Serapio of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations on November 26, 2009 at the compound of the then Maguindanao capitol.

Dureza accompanied him to General Santos City where he was turned over to then Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera and flown to Metro Manila.

Ampatuan Jr., was supposed to file his certificate of candidacy for Maguindanao governor then, expecting he would run unopposed like his father was in 2007. But former ally Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, then vice mayor of Buluan town, announced he would run for governor and sent his wife, sisters and his lawyers, accompanied by the media, to file his certificate of candidacy at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections at the provincial capitol in Shariff Aguak town, on November 23, 2009.

The convoy of vehicles was stopped along the highway in Ampatuan, including two other vehicles that were not part of the convoy but happened to pass at the wrong time. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)