DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 April) — Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, a candidate for governor of Maguindanao, will join various sectors in Manila to protest the ruling of Justice Secretary Alberto Agra that there is no probable cause to charge suspended ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan and his brother in law, former Mamasapano mayor, later Acting Maguindanao Vice Governor Akmad Ampatuan. Journalists have been calling on colleagues to wear black tomorrow, Monday, while families of the slain media victims will not only hold a press conference, they will also picket the Department of Justice in General Santos City.
“I’m so disgusted, Mangudadatu told MindaNews in a telephone interview.
But Mangudadatu said they will avail of every legal remedy to ensure the Ampatuans pay for the crime.
The Mangudadatus’ lawyer, Nena Santos, said they will file a motion for reconsideration as soon as they receive an official copy of the Agra resolution.
“There is no official copy yet. It hasn’t passed through docket/records section and the Ampatuan lawyers already have compies at 5 pm yesterday (Saturday).
Told about the report of an Ampatuan relative to their lawyers in Davao City shortly before 5 p.m. Friday that the case against the two Ampatuans had been dismissed and that a copy of the alleged dismissal had been rushed to the airport in General Santos where the Ampatuans waited for the C-130 cargo aircraft that would bring them to Manila, Santos said, “that was illegally released to (prevent) the departure of Zaldy.”
Mangudadatu’s wife, sisters and aunts were among the 58 persons massacred in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23, 2009. They were en route to the provincial office of the Commisison on Elections in Shariff Aguak to deliver his certificate of candidacy for governor when stopped by armed men reportedly led by Datu Unsay mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr.
Thirty-two of the 58 were from the media. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)