NBI to probe ambush of key Maguindanao massacre witness

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2020 07:05 PM

File. Relatives wait as police recover bodies along a hillside grave in Ampatuan municipality, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines, November 24, 2009. Aaron Favila, AP

MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation will investigate the ambush on a key witness of the Maguindanao massacre, according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. 

In a document dated June 4, 2020, Guevarra directed NBI Officer-In-Charge Eric Distor to conduct a probe and case build-up on the ambush on witness Mohammad Sangki in South Cotabato, which led to the death of a personnel of the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program.

The justice secretary also said that if "evidence warrants," the NBI should file appropriate charges against individuals found involved in the ambush. Both the NBI and WPSBP are under the Department of Justice.

Sangki was on his way from Tacurong City with a driver and a security personnel from the WPSBP when they were shot by unidentified gunmen in Tantangan town, on Wednesday. 

Sangki was not shot but sustained body injuries due to the impact of the vehicle hitting 2 structures.

But driver Richard Escobilla was critical when they were brought to a hospital in Koronadal City. He eventually succumbed to injuries.

Sangki was among those acquitted in the Maguindanao massacre trial which ended last December. He is currently a witness for the second Maguindanao massacre complaint pending before the DOJ.

Fifty-eight people were killed in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, including 32 journalists. Some were reportedly shot in the genitals and their bodies were buried in a mass grave using an excavator.