By NORIMITSU ONISHI
MANILA — The clan accused of orchestrating the Philippines’ worst political massacre — also considered the single worst killing of journalists on record — plotted the attack over a family dinner, a longtime housekeeper testified Wednesday, September 8, 2010, at the start of a long-delayed trial here.
The patriarch of the clan that has long controlled the province of Maguindanao in the southern Philippines, Andal Ampatuan Sr., gathered his sons, brothers and other guests at the dinner table six days before the killings of 57 political rivals and journalists last November, said the witness, Lakmudin Salio. (Ed. note: to date 6 witnesses to this event have been killed!)
Mr. Ampatuan asked how they could pre-empt a political rival, Esmael Mangudadatu, from challenging them for the post of governor, according to Mr. Salio, who said he was serving food at the dinner as the family hatched the plan. Mr. Salio testified that Mr. Ampatuan’s son Andal Ampatuan Jr. replied by saying: “That’s easy. If they come here, just kill them all.”
The father asked his other children if they agreed, Mr. Salio said, adding, “Everybody laughed, saying, ‘It’s O.K. for everybody to be killed.’ ”
Six days later, a convoy of Mr. Mangudadatu’s relatives and journalists traveling to the provincial capital to file his candidacy papers was ambushed on a highway by as many as 100 gunmen. The 57 victims, including Mr. Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, and about 30 journalists, were driven to the top of a hill, separated into groups of men and women and then shot and buried there in mass graves. Two vehicles, one belonging to UNTV, a local television network, were buried on another side of the hill.
More at: http://nyti.ms/9DMpFn