Witness heard order to kill reporters
MANILA - A former houseboy of the powerful Ampatuan family tagged his former boss ex-Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. as the one who in 2009 allegedly ordered the grisly killing of 57, including 32 journalists in southern Philippines, which is known worldwide as the Maguindanao massacre.
Lakmodin “Laks” Saliao, a prosecution witness, pointed an accusing finger at Ampatuan Sr. as the one who allegedly masterminded the gruesome multiple murders at the resumption of the trial which was carried live stream in the website of the Supreme Court (SC) but only for testing.
The live stream was made possible through a webcam installed inside the courtroom. The high court has approved the live coverage of the trial after a lengthy hearing.
“He (Ampatuan Sr.) was the one who ordered the killing,” Saliao said.
Saliao also identified then acting Maguindanao Gov. Sajid Ampatuan who was present during a meeting where the plan to block and attack the Mangudadatu convoy was hatched.
It was the first face-to-face meeting between Saliao and his former boss since the massacre occurred on Nov. 23, 2009.
It may be recalled that when Saliao first took the witness stand on Sept. 8, 2010, he said he was present at a meeting when the plan was hatched in a meeting held at the residence of the provincial governor Rizaldy "Zaldy" Ampatuan in barangay Baghong, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, to plan the killing then-Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu and those accompanying the convoy of vehicles.
The witness said at least eight other members of the Ampatuan family were present at that fateful meeting.
Mangudadatu was on his way to file his certificate of candidacy for governor of Maguindanao in the May 2010 elections when he was murdered.