Dying Ampatuan Sr. denies role in m******e until his last breath – lawyer

Andal Ampatuan Sr. remains defiant and denied his role in the Maguindanano m******e that k****d 58 people in November 2009; this was according to his lawyer Salvador Panelo.

Panelo said the Ampatuan patriarch maintained his innocence before slipping into coma on Monday last week. The alleged mastermind died on Friday night, July 17, aged 74 at National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) where he was receiving treatment for liver cancer.

The lawyer added Ampatuan told him in private he wanted to recover so he could testify in court and prove his innocence.

“Truth sits upon the lips of dying men. He said, ‘We are not a part of this crime. I am innocent.’ They’ve been framed in this case,” Panelo told Headstart host Karen Davila on ANC.

In denying his participation in the m******e, Ampatuan Sr. supposedly told his lawyer he was not present at the November 17, 2009 “conspiracy meeting” where the accused allegedly planned the ambush and the killing of victims.

The former Maguindanao governor claimed he was somewhere else on the mentioned date while his son Andal Jr. was on a plane coming from the US. Five other suspects were also ‘either in Manila or abroad.’

Panelo said the prosecution witness is lying and an immigration official is set to testify in the coming hearing to prove Andal Jr.’s travel record.

“This is the first time the people are hearing this because no one in the media reported about this. The PAL officer testified that Ampatuan Jr. was on the plane,” Panelo explained. “There was one video of a rebel commander admitting to this crime.”

Meanwhile, the prosecution expressed confidence that a conviction for the other living suspects will be meted before President Aquino’s term ends next year.

Lawyer Nena Santos said they will continue with the civil aspect of Ampatuan Sr.’s case involving his estate, but the criminal case will be discontinued.

Justice Undersecretay Jose Justiniano added they want to expedite the proceedings of the hearing especially that there are still a number of accused and their respective counsels are expected to take time in the cross-examination of the witness.