The massacre is also called the Maguindanao or Ampatuan massacre for the Maguindanao town where the convoy was intercepted and for the clan accused of the atrocity., File
Mangudadatu clan hopeful for a conviction in Maguindanao massacre case this year
John Unson ( - June 21, 2018 - 10:43am

MAGUINDANAO — The Mangudadatu clan is optimistic of an initial judgment this year on the infamous Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre as wished by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We look forward to that. We fought this battle the legal way because we believe that the court is the only venue where we can seek redress,” Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said Thursday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced on Tuesday in Cotabato City that Duterte is hoping for an initial conviction on the case, touted as the country’s worst election-related violence ever.

Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, his two sisters and several other relatives were among the 58 people, 32 of them journalists, who perished in the carnage.

Roque, who was the speaker on Tuesday’s graduation ceremony at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic University, told reporters that Duterte has directed the Department of Justice to exhaust its best in securing partial court ruling on the massacre case.

Media blocs in central Mindanao, among them the Kampilan Press Corps, whose members include trained peace and conflict-sensitive journalists covering the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, were elated with Roque’s pronouncement.

Several witnesses to the massacre who had testified against its alleged plotters had been killed in one attack after another in recent years.

Roque, while in Cotabato City Tuesday, said the justice department is doing its best in handling the case, being litigated by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court Branch 221 in Quezon City.

The 58 people killed in the massacre where on separate vehicles en route to the provincial capitol in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao to file there for Mangudadatu his candidacy for governor in the May 2010 elections when they were flagged down by gunmen, allegedly led by leaders of the Ampatuan family, positioned along the highway, herded away and killed using machineguns and assault rifles.

The Ampatuan clan ruled the province then. 

It was to anoint a member, then Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr. of Datu Unsay town, as its candidate for the same elective post. 
Ampatuan, Jr. is now detained, being prosecuted for his alleged involvement in the killings.

Mangudadatu was elected governor of Maguindanao five months after the gruesome incident and got reelected twice, during the 2013 and, subsequently, in the 2016 provincial elections.

“My clan is a noble Moro warrior clan. Our ancestors were datus who fought the Spaniards, the Americans and the Japanese in the 1940s. That massacre was a slap on our faces but we managed our tempers and did not retaliate because we believe in the integrity of the judiciary,” Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu, now in his third and last term as Maguindanao provincial governor, said Thursday just like Duterte, he too dreams of witnessing the conviction of the culprits before his term ends on June 30, 2019.

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