Another suspect in Ampatuan Massacre falls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 02 November)– A former town councilor in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao who was allegedly involved in the gruesome Ampatuan Massacre has been arrested in Surallah, South Cotabato, a police official said on Friday.

Senior Supt. Randolf  Delfin, South Cotabato police director, said that Abedin Alamada alias “Kumander Bedi” was nabbed at around midnight Wednesday by a joint police team in a house in Sitio Lanas, Barangay Upper Sepaka in Surallah town.

He said Alamada allegedly headed the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) of Datu Unsay town and was directly involved in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons, including 32 media workers, in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.

“His arrest was the result of efficient intelligence gathering and cooperation by concerned residents in the area,” Delfin said.

The police official said Alamada, who did not resist arrest, was nabbed based on a warrant of arrest issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn A Solis-Reyes.

The arresting team was composed of elements from the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office, Provincial Police Public Safety Company, Special Action Force, Surallah municipal police station and the Region 12 police intelligence division.

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

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) had placed a P250,000 reward for the arrest of Alamada, who was listed as a resident of Barangay Meta in Datu Unsay.

The Department of Justice had filed 58 counts of murder against former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his sons Andal Jr., former mayor of Datu Unsay; Zaldy, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; and several other clan members and at least 180 CVO members or militiamen in connection with the massacre.

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

In an interview with a local television station, Alamada vehemently denied any involvement in the killings.

“I did not give much effort in hiding (from authorities) because I’m innocent,” he said.

Two weeks ago, police also arrested massacre suspect Norhato Kamino in Sitio Talambong, Barangay Mongocayo in T’boli town in South Cotabato. Kamino,
who worked in a banana plantation in the area, was allegedly a CVO member of Datu Unsay town.

One hundred ninety six persons stand accused in the Ampatuan Massacre, around 100 of them still being hunted by authorities.

Ampatuan Sr. and Ampatuan Jr. have pleaded not guilty to the massacre case. Zaldy has yet to be arraigned. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)