MANILA, Philippines — A lawyer debunked a witness’ claim that former Governor Zaldy U. Ampatuan wanted to pin down his brother as mastermind of November 29, 2009 Maguindanao massacre that left 57 people dead.
Lawyer Redemberto R. Villanueva said that for those who knew former Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) well enough, it was entirely out of character for him to have been involved in the Nov. 23, 2009 killing of 57 people in Maguindanao.
Villanueva made the comment amid claims by former househelp Lakmudin Saliao that short of admitting his involvement in the killings, Ampatuan once broached the idea of tagging younger brother Andal Ampatuan Jr. as the one responsible for the gruesome crime.
“How can he tag his brother when he does not know anything about the massacre because he was in Manila attending a Lakas-Kampi-CMD meeting at the Palace on November 23, 2009?” he asked.
The former governor added then that he learned of the massacre after a call from somebody, which took place after the meeting with the Lakas-Kampi-CDM.
According to his constituents, Governor Ampatuan – who assumed office in October 2005 – was responsible for initiating sustainable growth in the region and was working closely with Malacañang to keep the peace in Mindanao.
They recalled that before he was suspended from office, Gov. Ampatuan was working to help establish an Islamic Bank as a means to attract investors from Muslim countries particularly from ASEAN region to invest in ARMM. The bank would have also served as an official depository bank of the ARMM and the Local Government Units. The planned bank was to have more than P20 billion combined resourced of the regional government and the LGUs as start-up capital. A year into office, the ARMM under Datu Zaldy prioritized and implemented a total of 420 infrastructure projects.
Jeamma Sabate, Manila Bulletin