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Prosecutors in Ampatuan massacre want ex-DND chief to testify

- Aie Balagtas See () - October 7, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The prosecution panel handling the Maguindanao massacre case wants former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales to testify on the alleged video conference he had with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other cabinet secretaries a day after the mass killing nearly two years ago.

According to Nena Santos, lawyer of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, the panel has included Gonzales and 30 others as additional witnesses to compel him to testify.

The Quezon City court handling the trial, meanwhile, released a pre-trial order list approving the inclusion of Gonzales as a possible witness for the prosecution.

Others included in the order are: former acting justice secretary Agnes Devanadera, former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol, and former military chief Gen. Victor Ibrado.

During the sidelines of yesterday’s hearing, Santos told reporters that she, Mangudadatu, and other Arroyo cabinet officials met a day after the carnage on Nov. 24, 2009 to discuss steps how to investigate the killings.

They were joined by Ibrado, former Philippine National Police chief Jesus Verzosa, and presidential adviser on Mindanao affairs Jesus Dureza in an Army camp in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat.

When the meeting was about to end, Santos said, Dureza and Gonzales sent them out because “they had an executive meeting with Arroyo via Skype.”

Santos admitted that she has no idea what were discussed during the video conference, which is why she wanted Gonzales to tell presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes.

“Gonzales has a lot to say (about the massacre),” Santos added.

The massacre refers to the killing of 57 people, including members of the Mangudadatu clan who were supposed to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for the gubernatorial race in the province as well as 32 journalists, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao.

The suspected masterminds are members of the Ampatuan clan, who were then staunch allies of Arroyo.

AGNES DEVANADERA AMPATUAN DUREZA AND GONZALES ESMAEL MANGUDADATU GONZALES JESUS DUREZA JESUS VERZOSA JUDGE JOCELYN SOLIS REYES LINTANG BEDOL MAGUINDANAO MANGUDADATU
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