Dureza denies receiving millions from Ampatuan Sr.

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 Sept) — Former press secretary Jesus Dureza today laughed off accusations he received millions of pesos for his alleged role in the dismissal of the rebellion case against former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Ampatuan Sr., a principal suspect in the Nov. 23, 2010 Ampatuan Massacre, was also charged with rebellion after he and some family members allegedly plotted an uprising against the government that was then investigating the carnage.

“Wow. Sana it’s true. I’ll be several millions richer! Hahaha. First, I was accused of making a deal with the Ampatuans for custody of Datu Unsay by GMA (former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo). That would have been plausible but totally not true,” Dureza said in a reply sent via a mobile phone.

“Now I am being accused that I made a deal for the dismissal of the rebellion case for millions. It’s a clear fabrication, if not outright amusing, since it’s on a matter which is totally not in my hands as the Justice Department and the courts were in full control after I turned over custody of Unsay to [former] Secretary Devanadera,” he added.

Lakmudin Saliao, a longtime house help of Ampatuan Sr., today told the Manila court hearing the massacre case that last March 11 the former governor told him to give the money to Dureza.

“Come to think of it, will I expect delivery of the millions if by chance the rebellion charge is dismissed? (Joke) Now I recall with more amusement what my colleagues in the previous Cabinet were ribbing me about the alleged missing Ampatuan funds when the raiding teams found empty vaults,” the former secretary said.

Dureza, who turned over today his position as chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to Lualhati Antonino, called Saliao’s statements “all fabrications and which are better threshed out in court when I am called to testify.”

“These fabrications are unfair to me as throughout my government career, I have endeavored to act in the most appropriate manner in all my actuations,” he said, adding he would have made millions had he accepted a director’s seat in a mining firm as a government nominee.

Dureza said he would just wait for his chance to testify in the Ampatuan case. (MindaNews)