Maguindanao massacre witness survives gun attack
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - June 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A witness in the Maguindanao massacre was injured while a driver was killed when their vehicle rammed an eatery following a gun attack in Tantangan, South Cotabato yesterday.

Mohamad Sangki was in a Toyota Innova driven by Richard Escovilla with Rey Fritch Pontanoza, a security escort from the Witness Protection Program, when they were waylaid in Barangay Bukay Pait at around 10:10 a.m.

Escovilla was pronounced dead on arrival in a hospital in Koronadal City.

Pontanoza was wounded.

Sangki was among the 56 suspects in the Maguindanao massacre case who were acquitted when a Quezon City court issued its verdict in December after a decade-long trial.

Private prosecutor Nena Santos said Sangki and his companions came from Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and were on their way to the airport when they were waylaid.

“Mohamad has no gunshot wound, but body injuries due to impact of the vehicle on two cottages,” Santos said.

Sangki survived an ambush in Shariff Aguak last March.

NBI probe

Santos said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should probe the ambush, noting that it is not the first incident involving a witness in the Maguindanao massacre case.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he would ask the NBI to conduct a parallel probe into the incident.

“I’m getting more details. I’ll have this investigated immediately. I will definitely ask the NBI to investigate this,” Guevarra said.

He said the ambush could be connected to the Maguindanao massacre trial, noting that Sangki is “a vital witness.” Evelyn Macairan, Janvic Mateo, John Unson

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