World | Philippines

Suspect in massacre of 57 people arrested in Metro Manila

Victims of elections-related 2009 massacre in Maguindanao included 32 journalists

  • By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 14:11 August 29, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Agency
  • Pedestrians walk along a street in a shopping district of Manila, the Philippines. A suspect in the elections-related 2009 massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, was arrested after more than a year of hiding in a posh subdivision in Metro Manila.

Manila: A suspect in the elections-related 2009 massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, was arrested after more than a year of hiding in a posh subdivision in Metro Manila, a TV report said.

Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, 22, also known as Datu Ulo, underwent a medical examination and was transferred on Wednesday to a police headquarters in southern suburban Taguig.

He was arrested at 12 Monina Yllana and Margaret Montinola Streets, BF Resort, Las Pinas City on Tuesday, Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP CIDG) head Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr, said in a TV interview.

“He did not resist arrest. Firearms and ammunition were also seized from his house during a raid on Tuesday evening,” said Pagdilao, adding that Ampatuan was the 103rd arrested suspect in the heinous massacre that occurred before the May 2010 elections.

“The arrest was good for the police,” said Pagdilao, adding that 93 other suspects in the massacre have remained at large.

Ampatuan had 250,000 pesos (Dh20,833) reward for his arrest. Pagdilao did not reveal how the police learned about Ampatuan’s presence at BF Resort.

Although witnesses have identified the young Ampatuan as one of the people who shot the victims of what became known as the Maguindanao massacre.

Ampatuan is the grandson of former Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr of Maguindanao — the alleged mastermind who plotted the killing of relatives of a political rival who were to file a certificate of candidacy of Esmail Mangudadatu who wanted to run as governor of Maguindanao.

Reporters who covered the event on November 23, 2009 were also killed.

The Ampatuan patriarch, his children and several relatives who were allegedly involved in plotting the crime were arrested earlier in the south.

Their rich, powerful, and influential background, forced authorities to transfer the arrested suspects to a police headquarters in Metro Manila’s suburban Taguig where the hearing of the case was held in early 2010.

The Ampatuan family will file a petition for bail for Ampatuan, a lawyer said.

About four key witnesses who used to work for the family have also been killed.

Relatives of the victims have expressed fear that the conviction of the accused might be unnecessarily delayed.

Elections-related incidents in the Philippines are always violent.

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