Mangundadatu grilled on Maguindanao massacre trial

August 22, 2012 10:40 pm 

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, Aug. 22 — Maguindanao governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu on Wednesday returned to the witness stand during the resumption of the trial of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case held at a makeshift courtroom inside the Metro Manila District Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Mangudadatu faced intense grilling as defense lawyers, led by Paris Real and Manuel Andres, took turns questioning him for his failure to provide security to his wife’s convoy that was blocked on the way to file his certificate of candidacy for the province gubernatorial post and eventually killed.

The grilling started when Mangudadatu answered a query by private prosecutor Prima Jesusa Quinsayas that threats to his life prompted him to asked his wife to file his certificate of candidacy in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao’s capital town.

Hearing this, Manuel and Real then took to task the Maguindanao governor as they questioned him why he did not provide security escorts to his wife.

“They were waylaid because you did not provide them security escorts,” Real said with Manuel asking Mangudadatu why he did not request escorts from then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The governor answered that he did not asked the local police force in his town of Buluan to provide escorts to the convoy as their functions were limited only to Buluan, adding that if they go outside of the municipality, the Ampatuans might think they are hostile.

At this juncture, Quinsayas objected saying the line of questioning of the defense was “improper.”

In a related development, militiaman Esmael Canapia would take the witness stand on Thursday despite the continued objection of the defense.

The prosecution want Canapia to become a state witness, saying that he does not appear to be the most guilty among the accused and that there is no direct evidence against him.

Defense lawyers, led by Sigfrid Fortun, have opposed the prosecution’s effort to present Canapia as among their witnesses, arguing that he is not qualified to become state witness and that his testimony will only serve to corroborate accounts of the massacre (PNA)

RMA/CLTC

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