Mangudadatu to visit ailing Ampatuan massacre principal suspect if…

BULUAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews/07 July) — Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said he was willing to visit ailing former governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., a principal suspect in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre, if the latter apologized to the victims’ families.

In a press conference Monday on the granting of a P1.7-billion loan from Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Mangudadatu said he was hoping Andal Sr. will apologize for the incident, which left 58 people dead, including the current governor’s wife and several of his relatives and media workers.

Earlier reports said the Ampatuan patriarch, a former governor facing multiple murder charges for the killings, may only have to three to six months left to live after he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

He is presently confined at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City.

“Yung sa akin lang, sana sa nalalabi pang buhay ni Andal Sr., mag sorry man lang siya o mag sorry” Mangudadatu said. “Seguro I can even visit him if he will utter some words of repentance for the victims of the massacre,” Mangudadatu said.

The victims of the massacre, including 32 media workers, were in a convoy bound for the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak town to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for the 2010 elections.

Mangudadatu added that like the families of the other victims, he wanted an independent medical evaluation on Andal Sr. to answer questions like if the doctor has really given him only a few months to live.

Ampatuan’s camp has submitted a medical certificate to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, saying his cancer has reached an advanced stage and that his chances of survival are slim.

This prompted the other principal suspects, his sons Rizaldy (Zaldy) and Andal Jr., as well as grandson Datu Anwar Sahid, also known as Ulo, to request to pay him a visit.

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of RTC Branch 221 gave Zaldy two hours to visit his father last Thursday, after his own myocardial perfusion imaging procedure at the Philippine Heart Center, where he was confined in 2011 from coronary heart disease.

Meanwhile, after almost five years, the LBP granted the province’s loan application amounting to P1.7 billion payable in 10 years separate from other loan terms.

This was the first after the province has been paying in the previous years the unpaid loan obtained by his predecessor, Andal Sr., from the Philippine National Bank amounting to P500 million.

The new loan will be used to acquire two giant dredging machines for the flood-prone province. The machines cost around P100 million each.

The loan will also finance the purchase of heavy equipment, construction of provincial capitol building, provincial jail, road networks and bridges, educational scholarship program, nursery and high value-crops seedlings.

Vice-Governor Datu Lester Sinsuat said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan scrutinized the loan before approving it. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)