MANILA, Philippines - A “possible witness” who could identify at least 36 militiamen involved in the Maguindanao massacre in 2009 has been killed, a prosecution lawyer said Wednesday.
Lawyer Nena Santos said Alijol Ampatuan was initially reported missing until it was established that he was also Menjie Mangulamas Ubpon, 36, who was killed in Shariff Aguak last Feb. 21.
Police said Alijol was shot by two men on a motorcycle in the town public market.
“The victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the chest and left arm and was immediately brought... to the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital for medical treatment,” the report signed by Senior Superintendent Marcelino Pintac said.
Alijol was an alleged aide of Kanor Ampatuan and a leader of the civilian volunteer organization (CVO) that took part in the murder, where 58 people were killed.
The victims include relatives of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, the political foe of the Ampatuans, and several members of media.
Santos said Alijol was also a distant relative of the Ampatuans, whose clan members are the principal accused in the case.
Kanor, meanwhile, is a cousin of prime suspect and clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr.
Alijol was identified in open court last July by his subordinate and prosecution witness Esmael Enog, a driver of the CVO.
Enog said Alijol was in Kanor’s house on the morning of Nov. 23, 2009 when he picked up at least 36 CVOs and drove them to the hilly portion of Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan town, where the victims were gunned down.
Santos said the prosecution was planning to add Alijol in their list of witnesses in order to corroborate Enog’s testimony and identify the alleged triggermen.
Enog identified four CVO members during his last testimony and was about to identify 32 more.
Enog, however, was also found dead – his body cut to pieces – in Mamasapano, Ampatuan two months ago.
Enog had refused to be placed under custody of the Witness Protection Program, Santos said.