Cop places 15 colleagues at massacre checkpoint
- Aie Balagtas See () - July 31, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A policeman who became a witness for the prosecution identified yesterday 15 of his colleagues as some of those who manned a checkpoint and flagged down a convoy of journalists and Mangudadatu clan members who were later massacred in Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.

During the police officers’ administrative trial at Camp Bagong Diwa, witness Inspector Michael Joy Macaraeg pinpointed 15 people who were allegedly with him in intercepting the victims at Sitio Malating, Ampatuan town.

He named Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay, Inspector Rex Ariel Diongon, SPO1 Eduardo Ong, PO3 Felix Enate, Jr., PO3 Abibudin Abdulgani, PO3 Rasid Anton, PO2 Hernanie S. Decipulo, Jr., PO2 Hammad Nana, PO1 Esmael Manuel Guialal, PO2 Saudiar Ulah, PO2 Saudi Pasutan, PO1 Pia Kamidon, PO1 Herich Amaba, PO1 Espilieto Lejarso, and PO1 Michael Madsig as his companions.

The administrative hearing against 62 policemen stemmed from the grave misconduct charges filed against them by the kin of 13 journalists killed in the massacre.

Macaraeg charged that it was Dicay, the then deputy provincial director, who gave the policemen, civilian volunteers, and members of Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) all its orders for that day.

“We were just used here. It was Dicay who gave the orders. It was Dicay who told us to flag down the victims,” Macaraeg said, his voice trembling.

Macaraeg also said the policemen only went as far as stopping the victims. “It was the (civilian volunteers) and the CAFGUs who asked the convoy to alight from their cars and lie on their stomach,” he said.

He added that these are the same people who allegedly accompanied the massacre’s principal suspect, former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., to the massacre site.

Dicay, on the other hand, laughed off the accusation and flashed Macaraeg a dirty finger.

Which side are you on?

Macaraeg’s decision to be a witness for the prosecution drew flak from the defense panel.

Most of the defense lawyers argued that as a respondent, Macaraeg would incriminate himself for testifying against his co-accused.

The defense lawyers expressed fears that the testimony of Macaraeg can be used against their clients during the criminal case proceedings.

Macaraeg’s lawyer, Federico Biolena, said his client was merely called by the prosecution to state what he knows. He also said the result of any administrative hearing would never be binding for the court proceedings.

Surprised

Most of the accused police officers were surprised after Macaraeg was called to testify for the prosecution’s direct examination. Gasps were heard around the courtroom and one of them even shook his head and said “naghugas kamay (washed his hands of us).”

Macaraeg was visibly nervous as he took the stand. He kept moving from his chair and would often look at the 50 policemen in front of him.

Macaraeg refused to comment when asked how safe he feels in his cell after his testimony. He just waved his hand and turned his back on the reporters. Macaraeg shares his cell with other police officers accused in the Maguindanao massacre case.

ABIBUDIN ABDULGANI ANDAL AMPATUAN JR. CAMP BAGONG DIWA CHIEF INSPECTOR SUKARNO DICAY CITIZEN ARMED FORCES GEOGRAPHICAL UNITS DATU UNSAY DICAY EDUARDO ONG ESMAEL MANUEL GUIALAL ESPILIETO LEJARSO MACARAEG
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