2 Ampatuan Massacre suspects ‘wrongfully arrested’ – lawyer

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 Sept) – Two more residents of Sarangani province who are currently detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City in connection with the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre allegedly appear to have been “wrongfully arrested” by local police operatives based on mistaken identity, a private lawyer here said.

Lawyer Chalmer Gevieso, counsel of an alleged Ampatuan Massacre suspect who was ordered released by a local court here last Tuesday due to a mistaken identity, said their camp has already taken the necessary actions to verify the real identities of detained massacre suspects David Olivares and Ramon Dadulo, who were separately arrested in Glan town in Sarangani last year.

“David Olivares was intentionally pointed to as (Maguindanao massacre suspect) Samsudin Daud while Ramon Dadulo was intentionally pointed to as (Maguindanao massacre suspect) Nasser Malaguial,” he said.

“Layo kaayo (Far too different),” Gevieso said of the facial features of the two detainees when compared with the photos of the massacre suspects.

The lawyer said he met the two detainees in Camp Bagong Diwa several days ago while following up on the case of local fish vendor Richard Rey Gofel, who was earlier tagged by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 12 as massacre suspect Fahad Utto.

Gofel was ordered released on Tuesday afternoon by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 35 Judge Oscar Noel after upholding the wrongful arrest and mistaken identity petition earlier filed by his wife Emilyn.

“We have undertaken some steps and a relative of one of them (Olivares and Dadulo) already approached us,” Gevieso said.

Police records showed that Olivares was arrested on October 7 last year by a joint police team and elements from the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion in a dawn raid in Barangay Taluya in Glan, Sarangani.

Olivares was identified as massacre suspect Samsudin Daud, who was listed as a member of the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) in Maguindanao and one of the bodyguards of former Datu Unsay, Maguindanao mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

Olivares had denied the accusations and told reporters that he was a former “trisikad” driver in Upi, Maguindanao and in Cotabato City.

On the other hand, Dadulo was nabbed by a tracking team from the Sarangani Provincial Police Office on November 10, 2010 in Barangay Gumasa in Glan, Sarangani.

Dadulo was tagged as massacre suspect Nasser Malaguial, who was listed in the massacre’s most wanted poster as a CVO member and a resident of Barangay Meta of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao.

Dadulo had denied that he was Malaguial and the one identified in the list of suspects in the massacre and claimed that he had never been to Maguindanao.

He said that before moving to Glan in 2009, he resided in Malungon town in Sarangani and with his relatives in Purok Lanton, Barangay Apopong in this city.

Olivares and Dadulo were nabbed based on a warrant of arrest issued by Quezon City RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes in connection with the massacre of 58 persons, including 32 media workers, in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23, 2009.

The Department of Justice earlier filed 57 counts of murder charges against Andal Jr., former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Sr., suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, former acting Maguindanao Gov. Sajid Ampatuan, several other members of the clan and 189 civilian volunteers and militiamen in connection with the massacre.

The case of the 58th victim, Reynaldo Momay, photographer of Midland Courier in Tacurong City, has yet to be filed. Momay’s remains have not been found but for his dentures.

Meantime, Gevieso and co-counsel Miguel Escobar are preparing to file administrative charges against officials of the CIDG in Region 12 in connection with the “wrongful arrest and detention” of Gofel.

Gevieso earlier told MindaNews that Gofel’s family was intent on pursuing the administrative charges against the involved CIDG-12 officers, whom he did not name.

With regards to the compensation for Gofel, he said the charges they had filed against the CIDG-12 included a “prayer for the payment of damages.”

“Some LGU (local government unit) officials were already planning to do something about this. They’re not happy with what is happening,” Gevieso said without further elaborating.

Senior Supt. Pedro Austria Jr. and other CIDG-12 officials were not immediately available for comment.

But Lawyer Prima Quinsayas, who acted as counsel for the CIDG-12 in the Gofel case, told a local television station that based on standard procedure, police operatives could not just arrest anyone without proper basis.

“As far as the police, as far as the CIDG is concerned, they have the basis for the arrest of Utto a.k.a. Gofel,” she said. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)