Mangudadatu orders arrest of perpetrators of Ampatuan Massacre

BULUAN, Maguindanao – Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu today ordered the police to “enforce the law” by arresting the perpetrators of the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre “who are still hiding” in some towns in Maguindanao.

The order was issued in the latter part of his inaugural address, where he also mentioned that each arrest has a corresponding reward of P250,000.

In a press conference after lunch, Mangudadatu told reporters that the reward money is what the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) had allocated.

“The warrants of arrest have been issued long ago,” he said, referring to the warrants issued by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes against the 197 perpetrators, among them the Ampatuans and a still undetermined number of John Does.

Of the 197, 189 are still at large, again including members of the Ampatuan clan.

A peeved Mangudadatu, however, acknowledged he “definitely” wants the provincial police chief , Senior Superintendent Alex Lineses, relieved because “ayoko ng useless na tao” (I don’t like a useless person).

Of the 197 named suspects, eight are now detained: Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., his sons Andal Jr., Zaldy, Anwar and Sajid and son-in-law Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan; Tactan Dilo, Ismael Canabia and then Maguindanao PNP provincial director, Chief Insp. Sukarno Dikay.

President Benigno S. Aquino III in his inaugural address did not specify the Ampatuan Massacre but he said: “Sa mga nang-api sa akin, kaya ko kayong patawarin, at pinapatawad ko na kayo. Sa mga nang-api sa sambayanan, wala akong karapatan na limutin ang inyong mga kasalanan.” (I can forgive those who did me wrong but I have no right to forgive those who abused our people).

“To those who are talking about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice. Sa paglimot ng pagkakasala, sinisigurado mong mauulit muli ang mga pagkakasalang ito. (When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again). Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all,” Aquino said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)