A former employee of the Ampatuan clan claimed that he was ordered to bury the victims of the massacre in the outskirts of Datu Unsay town.
Appearing in a video, Bong Andal identified himself as the operator of the backhoe that was used to bury 58 people, 32 of them journalists, after they were gunned down on November 23, 2009.
“Ako po ‘yung inutusan nilang maglibing sa nangyaring masaker na ‘yun [I was the one ordered by them to bury the victims of the massacre],” Andal said in the video aired over GMA 7 on Monday night.
According to him, upon receiving orders from the Ampatuans, he immediately proceeded to the crime scene with his backhoe where he saw bodies scattered all over the place.
He said he used the backhoe’s claws to drag the victims’ bodies and their vehicles into freshly-dug pits.
Former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., one of the principal suspects in the case, was at the scene.
“I used the backhoe to push the vehicles into the hole first. Then I flattened them with its metal arm,” the station quoted him as saying.
“Some of the vehicles had dead people inside, so I just closed my eyes out of fright and got on with it.”
Apart from Andal, other members of the family who were accused of masterminding the massacre include former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., the clan’s patriarch, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and former Shariff Aguak Mayor Anwar Ampatuan.
In his affidavit, Andal said Ampatuan Sr. called him prior to the massacre to ask if the backhoe was in good condition. He said it was Ampatuan Jr. who ordered him to bury the victims along with their vehicles. Zaldy, Andal added, told him to make sure that the hole where the victims would be buried was deep.
He said the Ampatuans threatened to kill his family if he got arrested by authorities.
Because of the threat to his life, Andal asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to place him under its Witness Protection Program (WPP) after he was arrested in Cotabato City in November last year.
At least three witnesses have been killed since 2010, including a former Ampatuan family employee whose dismembered remains were found stuffed into a sack in 2012.
Two members of the Ampatuan clan are set to be arraigned today unless the judge of the Quezon City court handling the multiple murder case grants their motion to defer their arraignment.
Sajid Islam Ampatuan and Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan son-in-law and nephew of Andal Sr., respectively, have pending motions for the deferment of their arraignment.
Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Regional Trial Court Branch 221 earlier reset their arraignment from June 26 to July 3 pending the resolution of the suspect’s omnibus motions filed before the court.
No order regarding the Ampatuans’ motion was released as of yesterday afternoon. The arraignment was scheduled this morning at a makeshift court in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
In their motion, the accused through their lawyer Paris Real said there is still a legal impediment that blocks their arraignment as the separate petitions that they filed before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court have yet to be resolved.
The two, who maintained their innocence, have questioned their inclusion in the list of the accused in the massacre.
WITH A REPORT FROM AFP