Freed Ampatuan massacre suspect back in Maguindanao

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/23 March) – A suspect in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre who was released on bail early this month is now back in Maguindanao and Cotabato City, an official said.

Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan, the youngest son of Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and one of his co-accused in the 2009 massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, posted a bail of P11.6 million for his temporary liberty.

“Sajid was back here in Cotabato and Maguindanao. That’s how strong influence works but that is only temporary liberty,” Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu said that while he was dismayed with the court’s decision allowing Sajid to post bail, he respects the decision of Judge Jocelyn Reyes and has high regard for her honesty, sincerity and integrity.

The governor however said he would like to know where Sajid took the money for the bail.

The assets of the Ampatuan family are covered with a freeze order.

But Mangudadatu expressed confidence additional evidence to be presented by the prosecution will pin down the brains behind the worst political violence in recent history.

He also expressed confidence former Mayor Akmad Ampatuan, a close relative of prime suspect Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., will continue to testify as state witness in the massacre.

Akmad was arrested in Makati City on Wednesday for another case.

Mangudadatu said the case involving Akmad Ampatuan happened in 1998 and that the case has been shelved after the private complainant filed an affidavit of desistance.

The governor said Akmad Ampatuan was already under the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice at the time of his arrest. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)