x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Philippine politician testifies against rival in massacre trial

A Philippine governor said yesterday that his political rival and the main suspect in the 2009 election-related killings of 57 people tried to kill him and his brothers months before the massacre.

MANILA // A Philippine governor said yesterday that his political rival and the main suspect in the 2009 election-related killings of 57 people tried to kill him and his brothers months before the massacre, calling him "powerful, influential and violent".

Esmael Mangudadatu, the governor of the southern Maguindanao province, testified at the massacre trial that his predecessor, Andal Ampatuan Sr, had sent hundreds of government soldiers, police and civilian militia to attack his brother's residence. About four months after the failed attack, Mr Ampatuan allegedly ordered gunmen to kill 57 people, including Mr Mangudadatu's wife.

Mr Ampatuan, his sons and alleged gunmen are among 103 suspects in the trial. They have denied the murder charges.

Mr Mangudadatu's wife, relatives and supporters, along with 31 media workers, were killed.