Mangundadatu says court is ''fair'' despite large number of acquittals
Maguindanao Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu on Thursday said the verdict over the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre is “fair” despite a large number of acquittals.
In an interview after the promulgation at Camp Bagong Diwa, Mangungudatu said he understands why the acquitted policemen did the crime 10 years ago.
“Because during that time that’s the only thing they can do or else they will die,” he said.
Asked about how he felt on the more than 30 personalities that were acquitted due to lack of evidence and on the grounds of reasonable doubt, Mangudadatu said '' it's fair.''
Before leaving the court, Mangundadatu flashed a victory sign after a 10-year fight for justice not only by the him but also the families of the victims.
In a statement, Mangudadatu said their wait was worth it because justice went to their side.
“This is proof that justice is alive in our country and it will never be wrong to choose what is right and believing in our God and the Constitution,” he said.
Despite 55 acquittals out of the 101 accused, their camp is still grateful that the major suspects including Datu Andal Jr and Zaldy Ampatuan were sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
Also, 15 people were convicted of being accessories.
Of the acquittal of Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan, Mangudadatu said he will look for additional witnesses that will overturn his acquittal at Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.
“Our lawyers will read the verdict why they are acquitted… No closure yet, this will still run for a long time since there is a Court of Appeals, Supreme Court. There will be 50 on the second phase and 80 who are still at-large,” he said.
While the family of the victims see this as an “early Christmas gift”, some relatives of the Ampatuan clan believed their family members, especially Zaldy Ampatuan, were not guilty
Some 58 people, including Mangudadatu’s wife, sister and 32 journalists, who were in a convoy to join in the filing of the certificate of candidacy of Mangundadatu for governor, were killed on order of some members of the powerful Ampatuan family led by late Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.
The Maguindanao Massacre is considered as deadliest single-day attack on journalists in the world and the worst election-related case of violence in recent Philippine history. Ella Dionisio/DMS