Unearthed bones, skulls to dramatize once more the impunity of Ampatuan

Unearthed bones, skulls to dramatize once more the impunity of Ampatuan

This is a proof of habit of impunity, another proof of guilt in Maguinanao Massacre



By BERTENI "TOTO" CATALUNA CAUSING

At the height of the investigation into the November 23, 2009 massacre of 57, including 32 journalists, in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, town of Ampatuan, Province of Maguindanao, in the southernmost part of the Island of Mindanao, then Human Rights Commissioner Leila De Lima was tipped by an informant that the Ampatuan clan must also be punished for the "chainsawing to death" of many innocent people who were considered as enemies of their political power.

With this saga of impunity, the belief galvanized all the more in the mind of the public that the Ampatuans are indeed the ones who did the Maguindanao Massacre that is the most brutal against press freedom.
Andal Ampatuan Jr., with a head scarf, is being escorted by authorities led by then Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jess Dureza, shortly after the Maguindanao Massacre occurred on November 23, 2009 in Maguindanao. Will he be tried again, this time for "Chainsaw Massacre"?

However, what comes to mind of this writer is that if it is difficult for the present justice system to try the Ampatuan Massacre where there are a lot of witnesses and pieces of incontrovertible evidence, it will be a thousand times more difficult to try them on this "Chainsaw Massacre."

The "Chainsaw Massacre" was said to have occurred sometime in the year 2002, in what was dubbed as the outrage of the Ampatuans over the murder of one son of Andal Sr.

The Ampatuans have been said to be envious of any opposition or voice of dissent against them, wanting to keep their wealth and power that enabled them to build dozens of extraordinarily-big mansions.

This mansion is located in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan town, one of the dozens of this kind built by the Ampatuans. Until now, however, no case has been filed to recover these structures said to have been built out of government funds said to have been raided by the billions of pesos.

Nevertheless, from that tipoff, that murders dubbed as the "chainsaw massacre" have become the advocacy of De Lima, who, in her desire to put a strong message for the respect to human rights, even went to the extent of investigating the much-storied Davao Death Squad impunity that was suspected to be linked to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

In fairness to Duterte, he is largely beloved by the people of Davao City because the city has become free of snatchers, robbers, and other criminal elements. This writer can attest that it is only in Davao City where one can do business without hiring a security guard, without getting worried that an application for business permits will be very cheap without any grease money needed to fast-track the issuance of the needed documents.

Following the tipoff, De Lima caused some excavations of the sites where victims of the chainsaw massacre were buried. But they never found even one trace of human beings there. De Lima attributed the failure to the refusal of the informant to personally be present during the excavations so that the site would be located accurately.

For a time, the investigation into the "chainsaw massacre" was shelved due to the national elections campaign in May 2010.

God must have been behind the cause of human rights that De Lima was appointed as Justice Secretary of President P-Noy, sufficiently arming her with the awesome powers needed to pursue her advocacy and to unravel the mystery of the so-called "chainsaw massacre."
Another gift of God or Allah is that the informant now agreed to be present during the excavations planned to be done again.

Thus, the excavations started on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011, at the cornfield plantation owned by former Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuau in Sitio Tabadiya, Barangay Timbangan, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan town bore fruit at 10:00 a.m. of Friday.
The first excavation showed human skeletal remains and De Lima said they expect to find more in the next few days.

The skeletal remains found were reported to be still in handcuffs. Slippers of one victim were recovered intact.

In another digging in the adjacent town of Shariff Aguak, another human skeleton was found and an identification card was found near the victim.

The informant was said to be a close aide of Andal Sr., the patriarch of the Ampatuan clan. That aide claimed he was the one tasked to bury these chainsaw massacre victims.

In this case, De Lima tapped the Death Investigation Division of the National Bureau of Investigation, headed by Danilo Laluses, the man being idolized by this writer as the Sherlock Holmes of the Philippines for solving more than three dozens of unsolved murder cases.

Also to be credited for the discovery of the chainsaw massacre is Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international rights watchdog that documented a total of 52 cases of killings, enforced disappearances, abductions and sexual assaults where "the perpetrators may be linked to the security forces of the Ampatuan family.

De Lima said the reports of HRW, which had also investigated other high-profile killings in the past like the Davao death squad, are convincing because these were based on interviews of witnesses and persons who have personal knowledge of the massacre.

Nevertheless, what is important at this moment is the the "Chainsaw Massacre" of Maguindanao have gotten a human face, most likely ending in another criminal trial for the clan that has terrorized the province.

No other Moro clans in the Muslim Mindanao have been reported as very brutal in violating human rights as what have been told about the Ampatuans.
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