Ampatuan Massacre 2nd Anniversary Commemoration Marred By Bomb Threat

The commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre 2nd anniversary on Wednesday, November 23, 2011, was marred by a bomb threat. Authorities reported that several bombs were discovered at the vicinity near the site of the massacre.

Ampatuan MassacreSpeaking to ANC, Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who was supposed to lead the commemoration, said 5 bombs were found near the site.

But Lt. Col. Federico Tutaan, Commander of the 46th Infantry Battalion - Philippine Army, in a separate interview said only two improvised explosive devices (IED) were discovered by his men who were conducting routine patrol. Tutaan said the IEDs were easily seen because these were only dropped off at the side of roads.

Reports said the bombs did not explode and were safely defused by the explosive and ordnance disposal unit.

Mangudadatu suspected that the bombs were not simply planted to give people a scare, but to kill a target.

“Hindi panakot basta-basta kundi talagang may puntirya dito,” he said, adding that he was not able to attend the ceremony after the police advised him not to proceed.

“Hindi kami nagbabaka sakali. Papunta na sana ako doon but the provincial director advised me to refrain from going to the site,” the governor added.

Mangudadatu’s wife and relatives were among the victims in the killings that took place two years ago.

The Ampatuan Massacre, also known as the Maguindanao massacre, named after the town where the mass graves were found, occurred in the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao.

While the victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, then vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and brutally killed.

The 58 people killed included Mangudadatu’s wife, his two sisters, 32 journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy.

The victims’ families are still waiting for justice for their slain colleagues and kin, two years after the gruesome murders.

Currently, reports said only 93 out of the 196 suspects in the Ampatuan Massacre are in jail.