Wednesday, September 15, 2010

'Ampatuan gave bribe money to officials’: ABS-CBN

MANILA, Philippines - Prosecution witness Lakmudin Saliao continued on Wednesday his explosive testimony against his former boss, this time tagging the Ampatuan patriarch in a bribery spree to have criminal charges against the members of the family dropped.

During the 2nd day of trial of the Maguindanao massacre case, Saliao said former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. ordered his spiritual adviser to transmit millions of money to several government and police officials to make life easier for his family.

On top of his list is former Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs Jesus Dureza who was allegedly bribed P10 million to have a separate rebellion charge dropped.

The Ampatuans were also slapped with a rebellion case for allegedly disrupting government offices at the height of investigations. The government had implemented martial rule in some parts of Maguindanao to rein in the Ampatuans.

The rebellion case came after the massacre of 57 civilians on November 23. The Ampatuans allegedly masterminded the killings.

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 77 quashed the rebellion charges early this year. A motion for reconsideration has yet to be resolved.

Saliao, who directly linked Andal’s son and namesake to the execution of the killings, said Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay and police officer Rainier Ebus were given P10 million each for them to retract earlier testimonies.

Another P20 million was also given to Maguindanao board member Mike Midtimbang to ensure the family’s welfare while under incarceration.
The Ampatuan patriarch supposedly gave the directives on March 11.

Prior to that, on February 28, Ampatuan Sr. supposedly instructed his spiritual adviser to give P200 million to Umbra Sinsuat, the Ampatuan’s then candidate for the position of Maguindanao governor.

The adviser, known only as Ustaj Sarid Agas, was also ordered to give P36 million to Omar Sayadi, the husband of a Maguindanao administrative officer.

Saliao also revealed that Ampatuan Sr., then under hospital arrest inside a military camp in Panakan, Davao City also ordered a son-in-law working with the Land Transportation Office to tweak the records of cars registered under their names.

Private prosecutors said they will ask the Anti-Money Laundering Council to track the bank records of the Ampatuans.

They will also start the filing of administrative charges against those who supposedly took part in bribing witnesses and families of the victims. – (Reports from Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News)


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