MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / December 11, 2009) – Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a television news crew in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao where 57 people, including at least 30 journalists were brutally killed.
The crew, all belonging to television giant GMA 7, was attacked at around 10 a.m. in Datu Hofer Ampatuan, but there were no reports of casualties.
GMA 7 said the news team, headed by John Paul Seniel, was filming a documentary on the about the wealth and power of the Ampatuan clan when shots rang out. It said armed men fired at least twice at Seniel’s group while about to take footage of the Datu Hoffer Ampatuan municipal hall.
Aside from Seniel, other members of the news team were cameramen Leoar Cajes and Randy Acedilla. It was unknown who attacked the journalists.
The massacre of the 57 people on November 23 triggered a widespread arrest by authorities after President Gloria Arroyo declared a state of martial law in Maguindanao and among those accused in the murders were the patriarch of the powerful clan, Andal Ampatuan Snr, the governor of Maguindanao, and his sons Andal Jnr, the mayor of Datu Unsay town, and Zaldy Ampatuan, the governor of the Muslim autonomous region where Maguindanao belongs.
The Ampatuans denied all accusations against the.m (With a report from Merlyn Manos)