MANILA - Maguindanao Rep. Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu on Friday said he would resign from his post if the court fails to rule in favor of victims of the Maguindanao Massacre, a decade-old case tagged as one of the worst election-related killings in the Philippines.
Some 58 people, including Mangudadatu's wife and 32 journalists, were ambushed and buried in a mass grave in 2009 using an excavator. Members of the Ampatuan clan stood trial and the patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr, died before the case was resolved.
"Inaasahan natin before Dec. 20 magkakaroon na ng promulgation na magpapabor sa mga biktima ng Maguindanao Massacre," Mangudadatu told reporters.
(We hope that before Dec. 20, there will be a promulgation that will favor the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre.
"Dapat walang makalusot sa mga major suspects," he said, referring to members of the Ampatuan family, a rival political clan of the Mangudadatus in Maguindanao.
(No one among the major suspects should escape responsibility.)
An adverse ruling will be "very difficult" to accept, he said.
"Sobrang bigat lalo na pag nakita mo anak mo, bunso namin, lagi minsan naiisip niya wala nanay," he said.
(It's difficult seeing your child, your youngest, realizing at times that the mother is gone.)
Mangudadatu said he had forgiven the suspects after his children prodded him to "move on" from the decade-old crime.
"Dapat napatawad mo na yun (I should have forgiven them already)," he said, noting that Andal Ampatuan Sr., the alleged mastermind of the killing, died several years ago.
Mangudadatu said he respected the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to seek a 30-day extension after the case was submitted for resolution.
"Wag natin madaliin. Siguro si judge naman maingat na rin sa kaniyang desisyon," he said.
(Let's not rush it. Maybe the judge wants to be careful in handing down the decision.)