CIDG gathers more evidence vs Ampatuans

December 1, 2009 2:33 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 1 –The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has vowed to pursue investigation of the gruesome massacre of at least 57 civilians and media practitioners in Maguindanao province even after the filing of formal charges against the perpetrators.

Senior Supt. Ericson Velasquez, CIDG-Criminal Investigation and Detection Division (CIDD) chief, said police investigators were still gathering pieces of evidence to further strengthen the case against the suspects implicated in the massacre of the group of Genalyn Mangudadatu, wife of Buluan town Vice Mayor Esmail Mangudadatu, lawyers and 30 journalists.

”Actually we already have sufficient pieces of evidence but in filing the case there are some tactical consideration needed so as far as the investigation that we have, we will pursue the investigation not only up to the filing of the case before the prosecutor or to the court. Our evidence gathering will continue,” said Velasquez.

Last Thursday, government authorities took into custody Datu Unsay town Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.. He is detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila.

Several witnesses tagged Ampatuan Jr. as the one who masterminded the gruesome killings on Nov. 23 in Barangay Salnam, Amatuan town, Maguindanao by about 100 armed men.

The Mangudadatus, along with their lawyers and media practitioners, were on their way to the capital town of Shariff Aguak to file Esmail’s certificate of candidacy for governor of Maguindanao.

Other members of the Ampatuan clan were implicated in the crime, including Ampatuan patriarch Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. At least nine members of the powerful clan were subsequently put in the Bureau of Immigration’s watch list. A total of 57 bodies were recovered from two shallow grave site in Barangay Salman after almost a week of diggings which were stopped last Friday after two days of recovery operations yielded negative results.

”Allow us to proceed smoothly with the investigation because as far as the details of the investigations, they have implications to the tactical operation,” said Velasquez.

Velasquez also hinted on the possible increase of the number of suspects in the gruesome killing, saying “ there would be some more suspects, and there might be some to be identified as the investigation goes on.” (PNA) RMA/MM

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