Maguindanao, the Philippines – A Deep Throat source exposes the deadly reality in the viciously inhumane world of Maguindanao politics to abs-cbnNEWS/Newsbreak but only on condition of anonymity for obvious reasons.
The alleged mastermind of Last Monday’s shocking bloodbath in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao province that claimed the lives of (as of press time) 52 people – including at least 13 journalists – is the warlord Andal Ampatuan Sr., the Governor of Maguindanao and one of the closest allies of President Gloria Arroyo.
The triggermen were believed to be the members of his private army, composed of rogue military soldiers and private mercenaries. The Philippine Army detailed to Ampatuan two special auxiliary units of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) – plus at least 500 heavily-armed civilian volunteers.
A memorandum that authorized civilian volunteer organizations (CVOs) in Maguindanao to carry high-powered firearms was also issued by Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronnie Puno.
The chief of the death squad was said to be Ampatuan’s son, Andal Jr., – the mayor of Datu Unsay town – leading at least 100 armed men, who blocked the convoy in Barangay (Village) Salman.
Shot and Hacked To Death
The primary target was Geralyn Tiamzon-Mangudadatu – who was raped before she was mercilessly gunned down – the wife of Ibrahim “Toto” Mangudadatu, the vice-mayor of Buluan town who will be running for governor in 2010 against Ampatuan.
Also killed – shot and hacked to death – were his two sisters, two female lawyers, other relatives and at least 13 journalists covering his wife’s filing of his certificate of candidacy (CoC) for the governship.
Ampatuan has held political dominion in the region since the late 1960s and has been linked to a staggering number of election-related killings, including that of Abdulkadir Candao, a political rival from a rival political clan.
Ampatuan is said to have exerted his domination over the local military through his alliance with the late strongmanagainst the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
He was also the de-facto military leader of Mindanao during the all-out war campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the Estrada administration.
Ampatuan gained absolute power with his alliance with President Gloria Arroyo. During the 2004 presidential elections, Arroyo’s closes rival, the late Fernando Poe Jr., did not get a single vote in all the three towns in Maguindanao.
Again, in the 2007 senatorial elections, almost all of the opposition candidates did not get a single vote in 20 out of 22 municipalities in Maguindanao.
The Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus were close friends until Toto Mangudadatu asked permission to run for governor in 2010 when Ampatuan’s term will end.
But Ampatuan wants one of his sons to succeed him, one of which is Zaldy, the governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).