Tacurong City staff also killed in Maguindanao massacre


Posted at Nov 26 2009 12:56 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2009 08:56 PM

BMPM patroller sends info to ABS-CBN

Local government employees who were just at the wrong place at the wrong time were among those massacred and dug up from an improvised burial site in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province, according to information sent to ABS-CBN News by a Boto Mo Ipatrol Mo (BMPM) patroller.

Of the 57 bodies recovered so far from Monday’s carnage, one was a government employee who was just on his way to Cotabato from Tacurong City to undergo a CT scan.

Nonie Lechonsito, an employee of the Tacurong City government, was going to avail of the free medical examination in Cotabato. He was accompanied by his wife, Cecille, and fellow state workers Grace Palabrica, Daryl delos Reyes, and a driver. They were on board a red Toyota Vios.

On Wednesday night, ABS-CBN’s late night news program Bandila reported that a red car was among the vehicles dug up from the massacre site.

A Boto Patroller first alerted ABS-CBN through an email on Tuesday night about civilians massacred along with the convoy of relatives and supporters of Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu.

The patroller said the red car was a government vehicle belonging to the local government of Tacurong City.

All the five bodies were found as of Wednesday afternoon. In a phone conversation on Wednesday night, the Patroller described some of the bodies recovered in the afternoon as “deformed” and “had bullet wounds.”

"They were at the wrong place at the wrong time," the patroller said about the five civilians.

The patroller said the five were travelling with a group on another car, which apparently was ahead and had gotten away before the attack on Lechonsito’s group and the Mangudadatu convoy.

Out of fear, the patroller declined to give further details. However, the patroller said relatives of the deceased “want to expose that there are some civilians aside from the (Mangudadatu) convoy.”

Another vehicle, a Toyota Tamarraw FX, reportedly owned by civilian Anthony Ridao, was also found buried in the crime site.

Ridao’s relatives said he was on his way home to Cotabato City and may have been suspected to be part of the Mangudadatu convoy.

“I would like to appeal na lang. All leaders in our area to please continue the peace talks that we have either, political or ideological, so that once and for all we will protect civilians from being sacrificed in this conflict,” Ridao’s relative said.

The Vice Mayor of Buluan is vying for the gubernatorial post in the province. His wife, Genalyn, together with other female relatives, supporters and lawyers, were about to file his certificate of candidacy when they were stopped and brutally murdered by about 100 armed men. Some members of the media who were there to cover the event were killed too.

President Arroyo declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao province and nearby Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City “to suppress lawless violence”.

On Thursday morning, the military took control of the Provincial Capitol of Maguindanao and the Municipal buildings of Shariff Aguak and Ampatuan towns.

Ampatuan Jr. has been tagged as a suspect in the massacre of 57 people.