COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/29 August) — A grandson of the detained Ampatuan patriarch who went into hiding after the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, was arrested in Las Pinas City in Metro Manila Tuesday evening.
Sajid Anwar Upam Ampatuan aka Datu Ulo, 22, grandson of the Ampatun patriarch, three-term Maguindanao governor Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., is a son of Shariff Aguak town’s former mayor Anwar Ampatuan Sr. who is also detained in Bicutan, and incumbent mayor Bai Zahara Upam Ampatuan.
Five months earlier, on March 25, Datu Ulo’s elder brother, Anwar “Datu Ipi” Ampatuan, Jr., 23,
was brought to police custody after a homemade bomb exploded near the banca he and five others used in Barangay Daladap, Mamasapano town in Maguindanao. He was rushed to a hospital in Cotabato City before he was flown to Manila where he was reunited with his father, grandfather and four uncles in the Bicutan jail.
While in hiding, Datu Ipi won the top seat in the town council in May 2010. His father, the former mayor, won as vice mayor.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Maguindanao said of Datu Ulo’s arrest said he was gald a primary suspect was arrested. He also thank the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for the arrest but added, “Sana mahuli na rin ang iba pang mga suspects na nasa Maguindanao province lang nagtatago (I hope the other suspects who aer hiding in Maguindanao are arrested as well).
According to interksyon.com, Datu Ulo became the 102nd suspect to fall out of 196 accused for the 2009 massacre of 58 persons, including 32 from the media.
It quoted CIDG director, Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr., as saying the suspect was arrested at 12 Monina Yllana corner Margaret Montinola streets, Prumdi Village, BF Resort, Las Pinas City around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 28.
A .45 caliber pistol and two loaded magazines were reportedly seized from the suspect, who carried a P250,000 bounty for his capture.
Datu Ulo was not in the first list of suspects when a complaint for multiple murder was filed in early December 2009 but he was named suspect in an amended complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court Branch 221 under Judge Josephine Reyes-Solis in early February 2010.
The panel of investigating prosecutors in a joint resolution on February 5, 2010 said 11 Ampatuans were among those “positively identified by witnesses” to have participated in the carnage: Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., then mayor of Datu Unsay town; Datu Kanor Ampatuan; Datu Bahnarin A. Ampatuan, then mayor of Mamasapano town; Datu Mama Ampatuan, Datu Sajid Islam U. Ampatuan, who was elected vice governor of Maguindanao in 2007, appointed OIC Governor in January 2009 but who was eased out by Ampatuan Sr., who returned as acting Governor by November 2009; Datu Anwar Ampatuan, then mayor of Shariff Aguak town; Datu Saudi Ampatuan Jr., then mayor of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town; Datu Ulo Ampatuan, Datu Ipi Ampatuan, Datu Harris Ampatuan, Datu Moning Ampatuan. Also implicated in the mass murder were Mogira Hadji Anggulat, Parido Zangkala Gogo, Jun Pendatun, Kagi Faizal and Sukarno Badal.
But the panel added that, “the confluence of events before and immediately after the commission of the offense leads us to no other inference than that respondents Andal Ampatuan, Sr., Datu Zaldy “Puti” U. Ampatuan, Datu Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan, Sr., Datu Norodin Ampatuan, and Datu Jimmy Ampatuan “connived with the actual perpetrators.”
Zaldy was serving his second term as governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) when the massacre happened while Tato was then OIC Vice Governor of Maguindanao.
Fifty-three persons led by the wife of Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu (now governor) were traveling in a convoy from Buluan, Maguindanao and were en route to the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao to file the certificate of candidacy for governor of then Buluan Vice Mayor Mangudadatu (now Governor), when stopped along the highway of Ampatuan town by about a hundred armed allegedly led by Ampatuan, Jr. who wanted to run for governor but dug his own political grave that same day.
Five other persons in two vehicles that happened to pass by at the wrong time, were also among those herded to Sitio Masalay in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town, where they were gunned down, majority of them buried in three mass graves. (Ferdinand B. Cabrera/MindaNews with a report from Carolyn O. Arguillas)