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Backhoe operator tags Bedol in bribe try

MANILA, Philippines - The backhoe operator who allegedly dug the graves of the victims in the Maguindanao massacre has accused former election supervisor Lintang Bedol of attempting to bribe him to alter his testimony.

Suspect Bong Andal, in a 47-page judicial affidavit obtained by The STAR, said Bedol – a former Maguindanao provincial election supervisor – approached him last June in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame, where they are both detained.

Andal is charged with multiple murder in connection with massacre, while Bedol is facing charges for allegedly rigging the results of the 2007 midterm elections in Maguindanao.

According to Andal, Bedol asked him if he will accept P300,000 in exchange for not identifying a certain “RG” as among those involved in the Maguindanao massacre.

“You will just refuse to identify him and then you will earn money,” Bedol allegedly told Andal, who said he refused the offer because he does not want to sacrifice his family.

When he asked who will give him the money, Bedol supposedly told him that the money will come from him.

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The backhoe operator identified RG as massacre suspect Zaldy Ampatuan, former regional governor (RG) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The STAR tried to get a reaction from the lawyer of Ampatuan, but he has yet to respond to inquiries.

Ampatuan has repeatedly denied his participation in the massacre, saying he was not even in Maguindanao on the day the massacre occurred. The prosecution panel is trying to establish his participation by conspiracy.

The latest claim of bribery was part of the Oct. 27 judicial affidavit issued by Andal in connection with the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre. It was attached to his urgent motion for reconsideration seeking to overturn an order for his transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa, where most of the other suspects are detained.

Andal was brought to Camp Crame as the prosecution panel initially wanted him to become a state witness. They later changed their minds and said they want Andal to be prosecuted like the other suspects.

 

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