MAGUINDANAO Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu on Wednesday expressed relief with the recent junking of Maguindanao massacre prime suspect Datu Andal ‘Unsay’ Ampatuan Junior’s motion to reopen the trial of what is said to be the world’s single-deadliest attack on journalists in history.
In a recent order issued by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, she denied (for lack of merit) Datu Unsay’s motion to reopen the trial along with a motion to suspend set promulgation of judgment of the case.
“I am relieved with the junking of the motion. We have been patiently waiting for the verdict. It has been 10 long, debilitating years but we remain optimistic that justice will be ours. Hindi madali para sa aming mga nawalan ng mahal sa buhay ang maghintay ng ganito katagal. At some point, some of us have lost faith that we will ever see justice. But God has been good in making us realize that the wait will be all worth it,” said Mangudadatu.
Last August, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that verdict will be rendered before the 10th anniversary of the infamous massacre after the prosecution panel presented more than sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction, at least against the principal accused in the case.
However, just this month, Datu Unsay, through his lawyer Paul Laguata, filed a motion claiming that the prosecution’s primary witness, former Vice Mayor Sakurno Badal, has supposedly sent feelers to Datu Unsay’s camp allegedly expressing his willingness to recant his testimony.
To answer the allegation, the prosecution presented Badal last October 17 to court where he denied the recant claims of the Ampatuan camp.
Badal, a suspect-turned-state-witness testified that as early as 2009, the Ampatuan clan had been allegedly plotting to eliminate Mangundadatu after the latter conveyed his interest to run against Datu Unsay for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao gubernatorial seat.
He testified that during the day of the massacre, he overheared the late Andal Ampatuan Sr., then incumbent Maguindanao governor, allegedly ordered Datu Unsay to kill everyone, including members of the media who were covering the filing of Mangudadatu’s candidacy through his wife accompanied by his sisters.
Badal stressed that he made a decision a long time ago that he will never withdraw or change his testimonies even if it costs him his life.
“It is not new to me for the suspects to resort to such tactics. But I will remain steadfast in trusting that justice shall prevail and that the system is working for the just,” Mangudadatu said.