Mangudadatu to resign if justice not served on Maguindanao massacre victims

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) — Maguindanao 2nd district Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu said on Friday that he would resign from his post if the court fails to favor the victims of the 10-year old Maguindanao massacre case.

“Magre-resign ako pagka-congressman sa dami ng malinaw na ebidensya, sa linaw ng statements ng mga witnesses na hindi namin kinumbinsi,” said Mangudadatu in a forum.

[Translation: I will resign as congressman, given the clear evidence and statements of the (voluntary) witnesses that we didn't even convince (to appear in court).]

However, Mangudadatu said that he has already forgiven the rival clan, the Ampatuans, for the gruesome mass killing in 2009 wherein 58 people died, including 32 media workers.

“Kung tanungin ninyo ako kung napatawad ko na, napatawad ko sila. Pero yun nga ang hinahanap-hanap ko ngayon, lahat kayo pati yung ibang biktima ay yung hustisya para sa kanila,” said Mangudadatu.

[Translation: If you ask me, I already forgave them. But just like the rest of you and the other victims, I’m hoping that justice will be served.]

Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan, Jr., then mayor of Datu Unsay town, is the primary suspect. He and his family’s private armed group allegedly shot and decapitated the victims’ bodies, which include those of civilians and members of the Mangudadatu family.

The high court recently approved a 30-day extension for Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to rule on the case.

Solis-Reyes asked for a one-month extension from the SC on her deadline to decide on the case, citing 238 volumes of records and evidence which she needs to consider. The extension give her a December 20 deadline.

For his part, Mangudadatu respects the extension.

“Nirerespeto natin ‘yan. Ayun ay baka may kailangan pa aralin...para yung inaantay natin na resulta ng desisyon ni Judge Jocelyn Reyes ay maayos,” he said.

[Translation: We respect that. Because it might need further study...so that the decision by Judge Jocelyn Reyes will be proper.]

He added, “Dapat walang makalusot sa mga major suspects.”

[Translation: The major suspects should be held accountable.]

The Maguindanao massacre has been tagged as the world's deadliest single attack on media workers, and the worst case of election-related violence in the Philippines.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario and Vince Ferreras contributed to this report.