Ampatuan Massacre witness and would-be witness ambushed

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Nov) – A witness in the Ampatuan Massacre was killed and another one was seriously wounded in an ambush Tuesday in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao, police said.

The incident happened less than a week before the fifth anniversary of the massacre where 58 people, including journalists, were killed in the bloodiest election-related violence in the history of the country.

Senior Insp. Archie Pajaro, chief of police of Shariff Aguak, identified the victims as Dennis Sakal and Butch Saudagal.

Sakal, who worked as driver for Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., former town mayor of Datu Unsay Ampatuan and a principal suspect in the massacre, died before reaching the hospital. Saudagal sustained serious wounds and is now being treated in an undisclosed hospital.

Sakal would have turned witness had he signed his statement affidavit about his knowledge on the case involving his former boss.

The two were aboard a “payong2x” tricycle when armed fired towards their direction in Barangay Bagong, a remote village in Shariff Aguak, 8:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, whose wife Genalyn was among those who died in the Ampatuan Massacre, condemned the attack on the witnesses.

“That’s is why I cautioned them to be extra careful in their everyday dealings,” he said in his advice to witnesses. “The suspects are desperate enough to find ways to strike against those who will put them down,” Mangudadatu added.

Senior Supt. Rodelio Jocson, provincial director of Maguindanao police, said they have identified the suspects based on the statements provided by the witnesses and are now finalizing the filing of case anytime today.