Lawyer's ambush linked to Maguindanao massacre

July 3, 2010 9:02 pm 

COTABATO CITY, July 3 – A lawyer, who survived an ambush here Friday said the attempt on his life was related to his job as counsel for the witness to the Maguindanao massacre.

"I have been receiving death threats for two weeks now," Lawyer Richard Petisme, one of the counsels of Mayor Akmad Sangki and Datu Mohammad Sangki, who are witnesses to the Maguindanao massacre, said.

“Mag-ingat ka, bilang na mga araw mo (your days are numbered),” Petisme said in a radio interview following an attempt on his life Friday morning.

Petisme said he and his two Army escorts, including the driver, were on board a Mitsubishi Adventure when a man standing by the busy roadside along Sinsuat Avenue opened fire at them at about 9:40 a.m.

“I have minor injuries in the neck,” Petisme said, adding that the attacker was a lone gunman armed with cal. 45 pistol whom he saw at the court vicinity earlier in the day.

He recalled that during court hearing breaks, he saw a man sitting at the Hall of Justice canteen starring at him as he was buying mineral water.

"As if he was trying to familiarize my face,” he said.

"While on board my car, I saw the same man standing at the road side and raising his hand with cal. 45 pistol," he said.

“I immediately yelled ‘ambush,’ ‘ambush,” so my driver tried to speed away,” he said. “I heard about three to four shots.”

Petisme said his two Army escorts wanted to fire back and to chase the lone gunman but he stopped them and ordered the driver instead to proceed to the 6th Infantry Division hospital.

Petisme said he represented the Sangkis at RTC-15 Friday on a case involving his client, Mohammad Sangki, municipal treasurer of Datu Abdulla Sangki municipality and former Vice Mayor Ali Camino.

“But last Monday, I represented the Sangkis in the case linking them to the Maguindanao massacre,” he said. The case was dismissed.

Mayor Akmad Sangki is the brother of Ampatuan Mayor Zacaria Sangki whose son, Rasul, turned state witness and tagged Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr as the brains of the massacre.

When asked who he thinks was the mastermind to silence him, Petisme said: "I can only guess, and your guess is as mine."

Last week, a massacre suspect turned state witness, Swaib Upham, was shot dead in Parang, Maguindanao. (PNA)

RMA/NYP/EOF

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