Ampatuan Massacre suspect nabbed in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 October) – Police and Army personnel in Sarangani Province captured Thursday a fugitive aide of Ampatuan Massacre principal suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr. who was among the 189 suspects earlier ordered arrested by a Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in connection with the gruesome killings.

Senior Supt. Florendo Quidilla, Sarangani police director, said suspect Samsudin Daud, 25, was arrested by a joint police team and elements of the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion in a dawn raid Thursday on a house in Barangay Taluya, Glan town in Sarangani Province.

He said the suspect is allegedly a member of the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) in Maguindanao and one of the bodyguards of former Datu Unsay, Maguindanao mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

“He was named as among those directly involved in the massacre starting from the planning stage up to the (actual) killings,” hesaid.

Quidilla said Daud was nabbed based on a warrant of arrest issued by Quezon City RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn A Solis-Reyes in connection with the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23 last year.

He said the suspect’s arrest was made based on a tip earlier provided by an informant based in the area.

The police official said Daud went into hiding several days after the massacre and settled in Glan using the alias David Olivarez.

Quidilla said the suspect used the same name when he came to the area along with his live-in partner, who is currently four months pregnant.

“We placed him under surveillance after we received the tip and when it was confirmed that he was indeed Daud, we decided to immediately bring him in,” he said.

Quidilla said the suspect is still in their custody but they were already preparing for his transfer to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 12 headquarters at Camp Fermin Lira here.

Daud refused to issue any comment when asked by reporters regarding his alleged involvement in the massacre.

He only said he was a former “trisikad” driver in Upi, Maguindanao and in Cotabato City.

Daud was the second massacre suspect who was arrested in Sarangani Province since last month.

On September 2, a joint police tracking team nabbed fugitive Police Officer 1 Arnulfo Ayunan Soriano in his hideout in Sitio Nama, Barangay Katubao in Kiamba town in Sarangani.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) placed a P250,000 reward for Daud’s and Soriano’s arrest.

The Department of Justice earlier filed 56 counts of murder charges against Andal Jr., former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Sr., suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, former acting Maguindanao Gov. Sajid Ampatuan, several other members of the clan and more than 180 civilian volunteers and militiamen in connection with the massacre.

A group of armed men allegedly led by Andal Jr. held and later killed members of the family of then Vice Mayor Mangudadatu, their lawyers and 32 journalists who were on their way to file the Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for Maguindanao governor at the Commission on Elections provincial office in Shariff Aguak town.

Joint police, Army and civilian search and retrieval teams initially found at least 22 bodies scattered at a hilly portion of the massacre site and later retrieved 24 more remains at a shallow grave in the area. Some 11 more bodies were later retrieved from a second grave in the area. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)