Media in Ampatuan Massacre: 32 of 58

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 January) — The number of media workers killed in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23, is 32 with the addition of Jepon Cadagdagon, who was not included in the media list before. Rowena Carranza-Paraan, director of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Cadagdagon’s mother, Jepon, informed her her son worked with Saksi News in General Santos City.

Jepon’s mother brought to Isla Parilla in Alabel Sarangani, venue of the two-day Psychosocial First Aid for the Media Families, a copy of the weekly newspaper, showing the staffbox with Cadagdagon’s name as photographer.

The NUJP organized the year-long series of psychosocial program for the families which started with the First Aid session on January 16 and 17.

Jepon, 28, was unmarried.

At least 58 persons were killed in the Nov. 23 massacre but only 57 bodies were recovered. Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay, photographer of Midland Review in Tacurong City, has remained unaccounted for but for his set of dentures found at the gravesite.

Momay, the 58th victim, would have turned 62 yesterday, January 18.

A total of 57 bodies were retrieved from the massacre site in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao, 35 of them buried in three gravesites.

Cadagdagon’s name was not included in the earlier list of 31 media victims. Momay’s name was the 31st because his remains have yet to be accounted for.

The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), organized by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), Philippine Press Institute (PPI), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and Philippine News, listed 31 media workers during its fact-finding mission from November 24 to 30.

The mission was in partnership with the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), MindaNews, and the Free Legal Assistance Group and its affiliate, the Union of People’s Lawyers for Mindanao.

Below is the mission’s list of media victims. Cadagdagon’s name has been inserted here:

1. Adolfo, Benjie, Gold Star Daily, Koronadal City

2. Araneta, Henry, dzRH, General Santos City

3. Arriola, Mc Delbert “Mac-Mac,” UNTV, General Santos City

4. Bataluna, Rubello, Gold Star Daily, Koronadal City

5. Betia, Arturo, Periodico Ini, General Santos City

6. Cabillo, Romeo Jimmy, Midland Review, Tacurong City

7. Cablitas, Marites, News Focus / dxDX, General Santos City

8. Cachuela, Hannibal, Punto News, Koronadal City

9. Cadagdagon, Jepon. Saksi News. General Santos City.

10. Caniban, John, Periodico Ini, General Santos City

11. Dalmacio, Lea, Socsargen News, General Santos City

12. Decina, Noel, Periodico Ini, General Santos City

13. Dela Cruz, Gina, Saksi News, General Santos City

14. Duhay, Jhoy, Gold Star Daily, Tacurong City

15. Evardo, Jolito, UNTV General Santos City

16. Gatchalian, Santos, DXGO, Davao City

17. Legarte, Bienvenido, Jr., Prontiera News, Koronadal City

18. Lupogan, Lindo, Mindanao Daily Gazette, Davao City

19. Maravilla, Ernesto “Bart,” Bombo Radyo, Koronadal City

20. Merisco, Rey, Periodico Ini, Koronadal City

21. Montaño, Marife “Neneng,” Saksi News, General Santos City

22. Morales, Rosell, News Focus, General Santos City

23. Nuñez, Victor, UNTV, General Santos City

24. Perante, Ronnie, Gold Star Daily correspondent, Koronadal City

25. Parcon, Joel, Prontiera News, Koronadal City

26. Razon, Fernando “Ranny,” Periodico Ini, General Santos City

27. Reblando, Alejandro “Bong,” Manila Bulletin, General Santos City

28. Salaysay, Napoleon, Mindanao Gazette, Cotabato City

29. Subang, Francisco “Ian”, Socsargen Today, General Santos City

30. Teodoro, Andres “Andy,” Central Mindanao Inquirer, Tacurong Cit

31. Tiamson, Daniel, UNTV, General Santos City

32. Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay. Midland Review. Tacurong City (remains unaccounted for)

The 32 victims joined a convoy of the wife, relatives and lawyers of Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao, to the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, on November 23, to file his certificate of candidacy for governor.

The convoy of six vehicles was stopped by at least a hundred men along the highway of Ampatuan town, the municipality before Shariff Aguak, and brought to Sitio Masalay in Barangay Salman, where they were mowed down, some of them buried, along with three vehicles.

A backhoe was used for the burial and to crush the vehicles.

Also stopped were five passengers of a red Toyota Vios and the lone occupant of a Tamaraw FX who were not with the convoy but happened to pass by at the wrong time.

Witnesses pointed to Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan, Jr., mayor of Datu Unsay town (the municipality after Shariff Aguak), as the leader of the armed men.

Witnesses also said Ampatuan, Jr., phoned his father, Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., acting Maguindanao governor, for guidance.

Ampatuan Jr., blamed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for the massacre. (MindaNews)