Guindulungan blast: Toto Mangudadatu claims bomb intended for his convoy

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 23 October) – Unidentified armed men lobbed a grenade at an army detachment along the national highway in Sitio Pansol, Barangay Macasampen, Guindulungan town in Maguindanao at around 6:30 p.m., seconds after 2nd district Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, his son and supporters, passed.

No one was hurt but around 10 vehicles of Mangudadatu’s 30-car convoy, were forced to stop.

Guindulungan Mayor Midpantao Midtimbang Jr. confirmed they heard a loud explosion.

Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, Task Force Central Spokesperson, said the armed men attacked their detachment by lobbing a grenade but Lt. Fayeed Cana, spokesperson of the Maguindanao provincial police, said the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Maguindano 2nd district Rep. Esmael G. Mangudadatu delivers on 13 September 2021 his sponsorship speech online for HB 10121 consolidating five bills seeking the extension of the Bangsamoro transition period to 2005 by resetting the date of the 1st Bangsamoro Parliament election from May 2022 to May 2025. (Screenshot from House hearing on 9.13.21)

In.a statment, Mangudadatu, who served as Governor of Maguindanao from 2010 to 2019 and is running for Governor in the May 2022 polls, claimed his convoy was the object of the attack.

He said he and his children and supporters attended a kanduli in Mother Kabuntalan town at around 5:30 p.m.  While the convoy was cruising the highway at around 6 p.m., a bomb suddenly exploded, nearly hitting a vehicle he used before but is now being used by his son.

Fortunately, he said, no one was hurt and everyone in the convoy is safe.

He thanked Allah for protecting them.

“Kahit ano pa man ang gawin nilang kapahamakan ay hindi po ako hihinto sa aking tungkulin at pagbibigay ng totoong serbisyo para sa Probinsya ng Maguindanao” (Whatever dangers they will subject us, I will not stop providing genuine service to the province of Maguindanao), Mangdudatu added.

Mangudadatu is running against incumbent Governor Bai Mariam Mangudadatu, wife of his cousin, incumbent Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu.

Rep. Mangudadatu i

In 2009, when Mangudadatu, then Vice Mayor of Buluan town,  challenged his former allies – the Ampatuans – by running for Governor, Mangudadatu lost his wife and relatives in what is now referred to as the Ampatuan Massacre where a total of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, were killed in the worst pre-election violent incident in Philippine history and the world’s worst single-day murder of media workers

Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalin, led a convoy that was on its way to the Commission on Elections Office in the Provincial Capitol in Shariff Aguak town to file her husband’s certificate of candidacy for Governor but were stopped at gunpoint along the highway and herded to an area some three to four kilometers uphill from the highway where they were massacred, some of them and their vehicles buried to leave no trace of evidence.  The crime scene was found before the other bodies and vehicles could be buried.

On August 15, 2011, on his first term and second year as Governor, Mangudadatu was en route to the family resort in Tacurong City to celebrate his birthday when a bomb placed inside a parked white KIA Avella car exploded at around 3:15 p.m., along the Tacurong-Koronadal highway,  just as his convoy passed.

A passerby was killed and seven others were injured, including one who died in the hospital at midnight.

Mangudadatu, who turned 43 that day, claimed the bomb, which exploded “five to seven seconds after we passed,” was intended for him. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MidnaNews)