Key witness in Maguindanao massacre killed
Suwaid Uphan, principal witness in the Maguindanao massacre was murdered on June 14 by still unidentified gunmen. He was one of the seven gunmen who killed the Mangudadatu clan. The crime is believed to have been masterminded by the Ampatuans. His death follows that of a relative of another key witness, who was killed two months ago. These deaths indicate that the Ampatuans are doing everything to prevent witnesses from testifying at their trial.
Uphan’s death could potentially weaken the case against the Ampatuans.
Earlier this year, Uphan spoke to the Al-Jazeera TV network and admitted that he was a member of the death squad that killed 57 supporters of Ismael “Toto” Mangudadatu, former Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr’s rival in the race for the post of governor in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In addition to admitting his own guilt, he named the other assassins, including Datu Unsay Andal Ampatuan, son of the former governor, who is currently on trial for his role in the massacre. He was supposed to meet Justice Department officials to join the Witness Protection Programme. ?