Zaldy Ampatuan blames brother and father for Maguindanao massacre, wants to be state witness

(SPOT.ph) Former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan has pinned the 2009 Maguindanao massacre on his father and brother, Andal Sr. and Andal Jr., reports ABS-CBN News. He said that his confession stemmed from wanting to clear the name of family members who were dragged into the mess for carrying the name Ampatuan.

 

"Dahil sa pangyayari, na dahil sa mga insidenteng nangyari na apektado ako, ang aking tungkulin bilang governor, ang aking pamilya, at maraming taong nasangkot na hindi naman dapat nangyari. Masama ang loob ko sa kanila. (Because of what happened, I've been greatly affected, including my work, family, and other innocent people. I don't approve of what they did)," he said, also adding that he and his family want to change their last name. He claimed that it was Andal Jr. who initiated the plan while Andal Sr. was present in two meetings. Meanwhile, Zaldy, according to his testimony, was at the Malacañang Palace during the November 23 massacre.

 

Zaldy said he is willing to be a state witness and is also willing to wait until the court listens to his testimony. He also asked Malacañang to give him and his family security given the consequences of his decision. However, relatives of victims and authorities alike rejected Zaldy's proposition. Maguindanao Governor Toto Mangudadatu, who lost his wife and other relatives in the massacre, said the testimony is a scam. "Strategy lang nila yan, susunod niyan ilalabas na din nila yung iba pang miyembro ng kanilang pamilya hanggang maiwan na lang si Unsay (Andal Jr.) (That's just their strategy, after that they'll just smuggle all their other family members out until only Unsay is left)." Mangudadatu cast aside Zaldy’s offer, saying they have enough witnesses.

 

A former aide of the Ampatuans, Lakmodin Saliao signed an affidavit saying Zaldy was at the last meeting before the massacre. This was further supported by a testimony of former Vice Mayor Sukamo Badal, reports ABS-CBN News. "Kasangkot siya, hindi pwede (He's part of it, he cannot get out)," said Takungan Balayman, whose two daughters died in the incident. Fairodz Demello, who lost her husband, said they will not allow Zaldy to become a state witness.

 

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said accepting Zaldy as a state witness would derail the prosecutorial strategy. "We can't give in to his demand... He will say he did not have any participation in the killings, but that is contrary to what our other witnesses said," said de Lima. "As far as we are concerned, he is one of the principal accused. He is part of the conspiracy."

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