Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Prime suspect in Philippine massacre surrenders

AMPATUAN, Philippines — A scion of a powerful clan suspected in the massacre of 57 people in an election caravan in the southern Philippines turned himself in Wednesday amid mounting pressure on the government to crack down on lawlessness and warlords.
The dead from Monday's massacre include the wife, family and dozens of journalists and supporters of a gubernatorial candidate who wanted to challenge the rival Ampatuan clan, which has ruled Maguindanao province unopposed for years.
Andal Ampatuan Jr., a town mayor who allegedly stopped the convoy with dozens of police and pro-government militiamen, surrendered to presidential adviser Jesus Dureza in the provincial capital of Shariff Aguak, said military commander Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer.
He boarded a military helicopter to a nearby city, from where he will be flown to the capital, Manila, for investigation, Ferrer said.
"The family voluntarily surrendered him and they agreed that he will be investigated," he said.
Ampatuan's family denied the allegations of his involvement in the slayings.
The military deployed tanks and truckloads of troops throughout the province under a state of emergency to hunt down the attackers and prevent retaliatory violence from the victims' clan.
Police and soldiers on Wednesday found 11 more bodies at the site of the attack, bringing the death toll to 57. Six of the bodies were discovered in a large pit buried alongside three vehicles, and five were found in a mass grave a few miles (kilometers) off the main highway.
The vehicles — a sedan and two vans — were crushed by a large backhoe that ran over and buried them, investigator Jose Garcia said.
Ampatuan's surrender followed days of negotiations between his family and Dureza, apparently in a bid to prevent hostilities between the clan's followers and government forces.
Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said he had warned the Ampatuan family they risked a military attack unless they turned over Ampatuan Jr. by midday Thursday.
Ferrer said the area around the provincial capital was tense after troops disarmed about 350 pro-government militiamen loyal to the Ampatuans. The militia is meant to act as an auxiliary force to the military and police in fighting rebels and criminals but often serve as a politician's private army.
The clan, which has ruled the province since 2001, helped President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies win the 2004 presidential and 2007 senatorial elections by delivering crucial votes.
Arroyo came under intense pressure at home and abroad to seek justice for the victims of the massacre, with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and media and human rights watchdogs voicing their concern over the scale of the killings.
The vice Mayor of Buluan township, Ismael Mangudadatu, after receiving death threats, sent his wife and relatives to submit his candidacy Monday when the convoy, including at least 18 journalists, was ambushed.
Mangudadatu said four people whom he refused to identify told him Ampatuan Jr. was seen with the gunmen.
Five police officers, including one provincial police chief, were relieved of duty and will be brought to Manila to face the investigation together with Ampatuan Jr., Ferrer said.
Arroyo vowed justice for the victims and declared a national day of mourning.
"This is a supreme act of inhumanity that is a blight on our nation," she said in a statement. "The perpetrators will not escape justice. The law will haunt them until they are caught."
Few think she will be able to restore the rule of law in the impoverished region that has been outside the central government's reach for generations, and where warlords backed by private armies go by their own rules. Maguindanao's acting governor is Sajid Ampatuan, another son of former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., the clan's patriarch.
Human Rights Watch expressed concern that the administration's relationship with the family would hinder an impartial investigation. Arroyo's ruling party, in an emergency meeting late Wednesday, expelled Ampatuan Sr. and his two sons.
Among the 18 dead journalists — the highest number of reporters killed in a single attack anywhere in the world — was Alejandro "Bong" Reblando, 53, a former Associated Press stringer. He was the most senior in the group of reporters. Reblando, who was based in General Santos City, was a staffer for the Manila Bulletin daily newspaper.
He covered the southern Philippines for the AP from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, reporting on the Muslim separatist insurgency as well as local politics.
He is survived by his wife and seven children.

Maguindanao Massacre: It's now 57 Bodies Found

The death toll from an attack on a group of journalists and politicians in the southern Philippines rose to 57 after 11 more bodies were recovered on Wednesday, police said.

According to the police, 11 more bodies were recovered and now the death toll from an attck on a group of politicians and journalist in Maguindanao, Philippines.

Chief Superintendent Josefino Cataluna said that six (6) bodies were recovered from shallow graves and an added five were pulled out of graves just before dusk.

The massacred occurred on Monday within the same way as on the order of 100 gunmen allegedly linked to a powerful local politician, Andal Ampatuan, abducted a group of aides and family member of a rival politician, plus a set of journalists.

The victims were kidnaped as they were travelling in a party to nominate the rival, Esmael Mangudadatu, as the opposition candidate for regional governor in elections next year. Mangudadatu was not in the convoy.

They were shot by close range, a few with their hands tied behind their backs, and dumped or buried in shallow graves on a remote rural road close to a town bearing the Ampatuan surname.

Source :

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maguindanao massacre: 47 bodies so far (Part 1)

At least 21 killed in suspected poll-related violence in Maguindanao

Maguindanao, two other areas under state of emergency

PRESIDENT GLORIA Macapagal-Arroyo has declared a state of emergency in volatile Maguindanao province and two neighboring areas to contain lawlessness following politically motivated killings of officials, lawyers and journalists.
A student holds a bunch of flowers as prayer offerings for the victims of election-related violence in Maguindanao province while shouting anti-government slogans during a protest outside Malacañan Palace in Manila, Nov. 24. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo placed two Mindanao provinces and a city under emergency rule yesterday after at least 46 people were killed in the worst-ever election-related violence in the country. -- <i>Reuters</i>
A student holds a bunch of flowers as prayer offerings for the victims of election-related violence in Maguindanao province while shouting anti-government slogans during a protest outside Malacañan Palace in Manila, Nov. 24. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo placed two Mindanao provinces and a city under emergency rule yesterday after at least 46 people were killed in the worst-ever election-related violence in the country. -- Reuters
As this developed, Presidential Assistant for Mindanao Jesus G. Dureza, head of the crisis committee, yesterday said the Maguindanao police provincial director, assistant provincial director and police officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Ampatuan town have been placed under "restrictive custody."

"Also included are the RMG (Regional Mobile Group) members whose names came up during the initial investigation," said Mr. Dureza, who went to the area yesterday along with Interior Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno and Acting Defense Secretary Norberto B. Gonzales.

There is no word, however, if politicians from Maguindanao, including three-term Governor Datu Andal S. Ampatuan, who was identified by Buluan Vice-Mayor Datu Esmael G. Mangudadatu as principal suspect, were also placed under police custody.

Bodies recovered from the crime scene rose to 46, Lt. Col. Romeo S. Brawner, Jr., spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said in a text message yesterday.

"For now, I could not say anything about the Ampatuans but we will make a report including the Ampatuan side," Mr. Dureza said.

Unconfirmed reports said four people escaped when the vehicle they were riding immediately stopped upon seeing more than 100 armed men blocking the path of the convoy on its way to the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak town.

The four are reportedly under the custody of Mr. Mangudadatu, whose wife Jenalyn Tiamson-Mangudadatu was among those killed.

The Mangudadatus and Ampatuans were former allies but had a falling out when Esmael declared his intention to run for Maguindanao governor against the governor’s son, Datu Junsay, in next year’s general elections.

The other son, Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, is governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Mr. Dureza said the Mangudadatus have assured them of leaving it all to authorities to render justice.

State of emergency

Stepping in on the issue, Mrs. Arroyo issued yesterday Proclamation 1946 which put three areas under an indefinite state of emergency. This followed a two-hour teleconference with the members of the National Security Council Cabinet cluster.

"The provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and the city of Cotabato are hereby placed under a state of emergency for the purpose of preventing and suppressing lawless violence in the area," the Palace directive stated.

With the PNP and Armed Forces as lead agencies, Mrs. Arroyo has ordered Mr. Gonzales, acting AFP chief Lt. Gen. Rodrigo F. Maclang, PNP chief Director-General Jesus A. Verzosa and Mr. Puno to personally oversee actions against the culprits.

The declaration was based on Mr. Dureza and the crisis team with representatives from the police, military, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Commission on Human Rights, among others.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said none of the Ampatuans can be declared suspects as of yet.

"We need witnesses and evidences first," Mr. Bello told Palace reporters yesterday.

The feuding Ampatuan and Mangudadatu families are both Palace allies.

Hot pursuit

Meanwhile, the military and PNP are pursuing the culprits alongside the disarming of civilian volunteers in Maguindanao.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce, spokesman of the 6th Infantry Division, told BusinessWorld the suspects are still within the hinterland of Maguindanao, adding they have deployed four Army companies and a dozen of armored cars to prevent the escalation of armed political conflict.

For his part, Mr. Brawner said in a separate interview that based on reports, civilian volunteers were seen to have joined in perpetrating the carnage of Ms. Tiamson-Mangudadatu’s group, which was en route on Monday to the poll office in Shariff Aguak to file the vice-mayor’s certificate of candidacy for governor.

"The police and the military have already taken actions in disarming these civilian volunteer organizations," Mr. Brawner said.

Mr. Brawner said military troops continue to extract more cadavers from the massacre site.

Special panel of prosecutors

In a related development, Acting Justice Secretary Agnes VST. Devanadera has formed a special panel of prosecutors to handle the Maguindanao massacre.

This is on top of an order for the NBI and the Task Force Against Extra-Judicial Killings and Political Violence (TF 211) to join in the probe, she said.

"I have ordered the creation of a panel to coordinate with the NBI to immediately conduct an investigation, and likewise ordered the prosecutors of North Cotabato to confer with the victims’ families for them to avail of the benefits under the Victims’ Compensation Program and closely coordinate with law enforcement agencies for the case buildup," she said in a text message yesterday.

In a separate memorandum, Ms. Devanadera said Senior State Prosecutor Philip I. Kimpo will lead the panel to be assisted by state prosecutors Bernardo L. Parico, Rassendell Rene F. Gingoyon, Bunrofil M. Altares, Aldrin Evangelista and Lamberto C. Fabros.

They will be joined by Maguindanao prosecutors Ramil Guiling and Akilala Balt.

"The [Justice department] shall expedite the investigation of these cases until the perpetrators thereof have been arrested and prosecuted to its successful conclusion," Ms. Devanadera said in a separate statement.

TF 211 Chairman and Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, for his part, said: "We will pursue these criminals at all cost, no matter what their status is in society, until justice is delivered."

Family feuds are common in some parts of Mindanao involving prominent clans, particularly disagreements over property ownership and old personal or even political disputes.

Violence only stops if both groups agree to settle their feud amicably, usually after paying each other with blood money to compensate for the loss of lives, or damage to properties and animals. -- Gerard S. dela Peña, Joel B. Escovilla in Davao City, Darwin T. Wee in Zamboanga City and Ira P. Pedrasa


Warring Maguindanao clans were once political allies

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus were once political allies. In 2001, they even joined hands in toppling an incumbent governor from power.

All that changed on Monday with the massacre of more than 40 people, including members of the Mangudadatu clan, in a village of Maguindanao province, where the Ampatuans have ruled unchallenged for years.

The ties that bound the two clans began to fray in May this year when talk spread that Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu would run for governor of Maguindanao in next May’s elections.

That seemed like a direct challenge on the Ampatuans’ hold on power.

The Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus are both political allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In the 2004 presidential election, Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., the patriarch of the clan, proved his worth to Arroyo by delivering votes in massive numbers for her, helping her defeat the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., amid charges of fraud.

In some towns, Poe ended up with zero votes.

In the 2007 elections, despite being pummeled by the opposition in many areas in the country, Arroyo’s Team Unity senatorial candidates routed the opposition in Maguindanao.

In all, the Ampatuan family controls 10 of Maguindanao’s 29 towns.

Explaining his political longevity, Ampatuan Sr. once said in an interview: "It’s because of popular support."

Days before Christmas in 2007, he created a sensation at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport when, seeing off a son, he handed P1,000 each in cash to airport workers.

Claiming to be descended from the Shariff clan of the old Arabia, the Ampatuans entered Philippine politics in the 1930s when Datu Mamasapano Ampatuan, son of a 19th century Ampatuan patriarch, served as political adviser to his brother in-law, Datu Ugalingan Piang, who became member of the Commonwealth Assembly.

He later also served as political adviser to his father in-law, Datu Piang Tan, a member of the Commonwealth Senate.

Mamasapano, after whom a Maguindanao town was named, was the younger brother of Hadji Hassan, the father of Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Of Mamasapano’s siblings, two others became mayor of Maganoy (now Shariff Aguak)—Datu Akilan and Datu Pinagayao, who served in the administrations of Presidents Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos.

Datu Ishak Ampatuan, son of Mamasapano, was mayor of Datu Piang town in the 1950s.

His brother Datu Mudi was municipal councilor of the Datu Piang. Both were members of the Liberal Party that was formidable in the first Macapagal presidency. Datu Ishak’s son, Zam Ampatuan, later became energy undersecretary under Ms Arroyo.

Zam’s brother Yakub is a mayor of Rajah Buayan town.

In 2002, one of the elder Ampatuan’s sons figured in a shooting incident in Cotabato City and was killed. Two days later, another son, Datu Saudi, was killed, along with 14 of his companions and supporters, in a roadside bomb attack in his town.

The Ampatuan family is often described as “traditionalist,” adhering, so it is said, to seniority in bloodline in matters of leadership selection.

After 10 years of being undefeated as mayor and vice mayor of his town, Ampatuan Sr. aimed for the gubernatorial post in 2001.

Supported by the Mangudadatus, he handily beat then incumbent Gov. Zacaria Candao.

With their political influence, the Ampatuan family backed the creation of more towns named after their forebears—Datu Mamasapano, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Salibo, or even children, Datu Hoffer, Datu Saudi, and Datu Unsay, where Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. is mayor.

In September 2005, another son of Ampatuan Sr., Zaldy, captured the governorship of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), beating known regional political figures, including the late Lanao del Sur Gov. Mahid Mutilan.

The Mangudadatus started their own reign in Maguindanao politics in 1986 during the Aquino administration when the family patriarch, Datu Pua Mangudadatu was appointed mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao.

At some point, the Ampatuan and Mangudadatu clans were close to each other.

It was said that before he died of illness, Datu Pua left his politician-children under the care and tutelage of the elder Ampatuan. The two old men had been very close friends.

A rift developed following rumors that Esmael Mangudadatu would run for governor in 2010.

Their ties snapped when the Mangudadatus purportedly blocked the creation of Adam municipality to be culled from the towns that they control in the south-eastern tip of the province. It was said that the proposed town did not meet the population criteria required by law.

The name Adam apparently comes from the name of the deceased father of Supt. Piang Adam, a former police provincial director said to be loyal to the elder Ampatuan and his son Andal Jr.

In July this year, an Adam relative was killed by armed men. Police later disarmed some Mangudadatu followers.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pacquiao Vs Cotto

Manny Pacquiao Vs Miguel Cotto -The Latest Updates.

Manny Pacquiao Profile
Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao
Age: 30 yr old
Division: Light welterweight
Belt: The Ring Belt / IBO 140 Lbs
Country: Philippines

Record: 49 - 3 - 2
KO: 37 (75.5%)
Rounds Boxed: 293 rounds

Height: 5'6 1/2"
Reach: 67"

Last Opponents:
Ricky Hatton - W TKO 2
Oscar De La Hoya -W TKO 8
David Diaz - W TKO 9
Juan Manuel Marquez - W SD 12
Marco Antonio Barrera - W UD 12

Miguel Angel Cotto Profile
Miguel Angel Cotto
Age: 28 yr old
Division: Welterweight
Belt: WBO Welterweight
Country: Puerto Rico

Record: 34 - 1 - 0
KO: 2 7(77.14%)
Rounds Boxed: 226 rounds

Height: 5'7"
Reach: 67"

Last Opponents:
Joshua Clottey - W SD 12
Michael Jennings - W TKO 5
Antonio Margarito - L TKO 11
Alfonso Gomez - W RTD 5
Shane Mosley - W UD 12


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Welcome Back PR3!!

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