Mangudadatu says he is surprised by murder charge

by Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Feb 14 2010 05:45 PM | Updated as of Feb 15 2010 07:52 AM

PARANG, MAGUINDANAO, Philippines – Buluan Vice-Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu was at a medical mission in Parang town in Maguindanao province when he learned that aside from his bodyguard, he was also being charged for the murder of Tamano Kamendan.

Mangudadatu expressed surprise at the murder charge filed by Kamendan’s wife, Natividad.

“Wala pa naman inquest noon at hindi ko alam na isinali pala nila ako sa kaso,” he said.

It was earlier reported that the murder charges against Mangudadatu and his 2 police escorts, Sarab Pantas and Ibrahim Langalen, were filed on Friday.

Kamendan was shot by Mangudadatu’s bodyguard in what seemed to be an attempt to kill Mangudadatu or kidnap his children inside the JS Gaisano Mall in Davao City last Thursday.

But Natividad said her husband had no intention of harming the Mangudadatus.

She said before the incident happened, Mangudadatu and Kamendan were already talking.

Natividad added that after only a few minutes, she overheard Mangudadatu instructing his bodyguard to shoot her husband.

“Kahit anong paratang nila, may abugado naman ako magpa-file kami ng counter affidavit,” said the widower of Jenalyn who was one of the 57 victims of the Maguindanao massacre last November 23.

Jenalyn and at least 56 others, including at least 30 journalists, were supposed to file Mangudadatu's certificate of candidacy for governor and run against Andal Ampatuan Jr.. They were however stopped and brutally murdered by an armed group allegedly led by Andal Jr.

Mangudadatu had said that Kamendan was a relative of the Ampatuans.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in General Santos City said erstwhile Autnonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan remains detained at its headquarters and will continue to be held there until a court gives the order to transfer him to Manila.

Zaldy, as well as the patriarch of the powerful Ampatuan clan, Andal Sr., have also been tagged as suspects in the Maguindanao massacre.