Andal Ampatuan Sr., one of the principal people accused in the Maguindano massacre in the Philippines, has died.
The 74-year-old former governor of Maguindanao province, on the southern island of Mindanao, was on trial and was hospitalized after he was diagnosed with liver cancer, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Andal Sr., along with his sons Andal Jr., and Zaldy were accused of killing 58 people, including 32 journalists in what is considered as the worst-ever election-related violence in the country’s history.
The brutal massacre, one of the world’s deadliest attacks against media workers, saw some shot in their genitals before they were buried in a hilltop grave using an excavator.
But Mangudadatu stressed that despite Ampatuan’s death, his family was determined to pursue the criminal case of multiple murder on 58 counts filed in a Metro Manila regional court against the patriarch, at least 10 members of his clan and 100 others belonging to their “private army” composed of soldiers, policemen and militiamen.
Castillo admits she is frustrated over the slow pace of the justice system. “We share in their frustration”, Valte said.
Widows of Maguindanao victims said Saturday that they could not forgive the powerful clan warlord.
Valte, who is also a lawyer, agreed with Topacio but she clarified that the trial for the rest of the accused would proceed. Government prosecutors also did not make any statement.
Ampatuan has been buried according to Muslim traditions and the family has asked to be allowed to grieve in private.
In November 2009, Ampatuan Sr allegedly led younger family members in orchestrating a murderous plan to stop a political rival, Esmael Mangudadatu, from running as governor of Maguindanao.
He immediately recited a verse from holy Qur’an immediately after he was informed of Andal Senior’s death.
“We will not oppose burial for him in Maguindanao, that is his right”.
Ampatuan Sr.’s body was interred around 2:45 p.m., Rajah Buayan Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan, his nephew, said.
Allies of the Ampatuan patriarch who turned state witnesses have died mysteriously.