Monday, May 24, 2010

New Maguindanao governor to work hard for province

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 24, 2010) – Newly elected Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, whose wife and sister were among 57 people brutally killed last year in the province, said he would not exact revenge to those accused in the mass murders, but called on authorities to pursue the cases against more than 100 people linked to the slayings.

Police and military have linked the patriarch and senior members of the influential Ampatuan clan to the grisly murders.

“I am very lucky because the sympathy of the people and the almighty God is with me now, I am stronger than ever. It is time to work with the people and give them all for the good of the province,” Mangudadatu told reporters.

Mangudadatu said he plans erect a memorial marker in Maguindanao to pay tribute to all those killed, including at least 32 journalists, who were accompanying the convoy of the politician’s wife when attacked in November 23 by more than 100 gunmen allegedly led by Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

“I want to give tribute to the 57 people – heroes - who shed their lives in order to bring peace not only in Maguindanao but to the whole country. The November 23 had awakened the Filipino people and the whole nation, to the abuses of those who wield power and influence and money over those who had nothing but the truth,” Mangudadatu said.

The Department of Justice has released P55 million to the families of those killed through the Mangudadatu Foundation. (Becky de Asis)

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