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Maguindanao Massacre

Ampatuan Massacre: A map and timeline of what happened

November 22, 2010 3:57pm
GMANews.TV offers an updated interactive map and timeline of the Ampatuan massacre, exactly one year after it claimed 58 lives--57 confirmed dead and a 58th still missing but presumed dead--along an off-road hillside in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province.

Our staff have spent extra time and effort, beyond the call of duty, to review, update and recompile the bits and pieces of information--as reported by media, as recounted in a steadily-growing mass of literature on the subject, and as officially presented in court as part of witness testimonies--in order to reconstruct the tragic events of that fateful day, painful as it may be to us as fellow emphatizing human beings, and as colleagues of media workers who were among those killed.

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1. November 19 – checkpoints planned
  • Mangudadatu plans.
    • Buluan town vice mayor Esmail “Toto" Mangudadatu has plans, as is widely anticipated among politicians of Maguindanao, to challenge the Ampatuans for the governorship of the province in the coming May 10 elections. He notices major troop movements among Ampatuan-led security forces. He contacts Henry Araneta of DZRH and asks him to invite more journalists to cover his filing of certificate of candidacy.

  • Bahnarin call to Sangki.
    • Sangki receives a call allegedly from Datu Bahnarin Ampatuan (Andal Jr.’s brother and mayor of Mamasapano town) ordering him to deploy a police auxiliary force in Crossing Saniag, Ampatuan town, until December 2. Crossing Saniag is two minutes away from the Sitio Malating checkpoint. Bahnarin allegedly tells Sangki to coordinate with Tammy Masukat, an SB member in Mamasapano, for the police deployment. Masukat later allegedly tells him that the police team was in preparation for the convoy coming from Buluan. (Mohammad Sangki testimony)

  • Meeting of Andal Jr. with police.
    • In a meeting on November 19 at an Ampatuan house, Diongon allegedly gets instructions from Andal Jr. who tells him: “It’s possible that Toto will not file the papers himself, but whoever will do it for him, I want them picked up and brought to me." Allegedly present at the meeting are Andal Jr., deputy Maguindanao provincial director Sukarno Dicay, and heads of the 1507th and 1506th RMG. (Diongon testimony)

2. November 20 – new checkpoints set up
  • Filing of COCs start.
    • It is the first day for the filing of certificates of candidacy. Mangudadatu, who plans to run for governor, is required to file his certificate of candidacy at the Comelec office in Shariff Aguak, the capital town of Maguindanao and a bulwark of the Ampatuans. Rising of political tensions are anticipated.

  • 6 new police checkpoints.
    • PNP sets up six new additional checkpoints along the 27-km stretch of the GenSan-Cotabato highway from Datu Sangki at the boundary of Sultan Kudarat, to the crossing of Salbu, Datu Saudi Ampatuan. Police say the move is part of Oplan Kontra Boga vs. loose firearms. (MindaNews timeline)

  • List of new checkpoints.
    • Three of the checkpoints are in Ampatuan town within the vicinity of sitio Malating. Two checkpoints are in Datu Sangki Ampatuan (DSA), and one is in Shariff Aguak. (MindaNews timeline)
      - Barangay Labu-labu, Shariff Aguak;
      - Barangay Poblacion, Ampatuan;
      - Barangay Masalay, Ampatuan;
      - Crossing Saniag, Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan;
      - Barangay Salbu, DSA;
      - and Barangay Poblacion, DSA.

  • Checkpoint food budget.
    • On Nov. 20, Sangki and Masukat go to the home of Andal Jr. in Shariff Aguak, and allegedly receive P15,000 for food for the police checkpoint team at Crossing Saniag. (Sangki testimony)

  • Malating checkpoint Nov. 19-23.
    • Diongon and his 17 men of the 1508th RMG, including Ebus, all clad in police camouflage uniform, troop to Sito Malating and set up a checkpoint. They are armed with high-powered firearms, including six M14, four M16, and one Garand. Diongon’s group man the Malating checkpoint from Nov. 19 until Nov. 23, allegedly to check if the Mangudadatu convoy would be arriving. (Diongon and Ebus testimonies)

  • Datu Kanor seen in checkpoint.
    • Mauyag, whose house is near the checkpoint, allegedly sees Datu Kanor gathering his men, a mix of around 100 militiamen and policemen, a few days before Nov. 23. (Mauyag testimony)

3. November 22 – journalists stay overnight in hotel at Tacurong
  • Journalists check in at BF Lodge (10 pm).
    • Four journalists from South Cotabato and General Santos arrive at the BF Lodge in Tacurong City: Aquiles Zonio of PDI, Joseph Jubelag of Manila Standard Today, Paul Bernaldez, photojournalist of Abante, and Alejandro “Bong" Reblando of Manila Bulletin. At least eight others who arrived earlier also spent the night there. (MindaNews timeline)


1. Convoy assembles (before 9 am)
  • Journalists, others gather at Mangudadatu residence (7 am).
    • Journalists, lawyers, other participants in the planned convoy of Mangudadatu women to Shariff Aguak to file Toto Mangudadatu’s COC assemble at his residence. Some 37 journalists, 16 women kinfolk and lawyers, and five drivers are with the convoy. Start of trip is scheduled for 9 a.m. but is delayed due to security concerns (MindaNews timeline).

  • No AFP-PNP security.
    • Mangudadatus earlier sought AFP-PNP assistance but are allegedly turned down. According to 601st Bde chief Col. Col. Medardo Geslani, two battalions had just pulled out, and requests for election-related security concerns are to be coursed through either the PNP or the Comelec, which then relays the request to the AFP. Mangudadatu relays this to convoy participants, causes some concern. (MindaNews timeline)

2. Convoy leaves Buluan (9:30 am)

  • Convoy of seven vehicles leaves Buluan.
    • The Mangudadatu convoy leaves Buluan for Shariff Aguak. The convoy consists of seven vehicles:
      - Vehicle 1, the lead vehicle, is a Mitsubishi L-300 van owned by UNTV;
      - Vehicle 2, a Pajero owned by dzRH broadcast journalist Henry Araneta;
      - Vehicles 3, 4, 5, and 6 are four Toyota Grandia vans (one grey, one green, and two white) owned by the Mangudadatu family;
      - Vehicle 7, the tail end, is a Toyota vehicle (Grandia?) driven by Sandamen Rajah Ali, and apparently carrying more supporters of the Mangudadatu family, including Basit Laguia and Judge Mamasalanang.
      - Note: in the MindaNews timeline, another vehicle is mentioned: Manila Standard Today correspondent Joseph Jubelag’s car.

  • Convoy route.
    • The convoy’s exact route is from Buluan to Tucurong, then via the Cotabato-Isulan national highway to Shariff Aguak.

3. A media group leaves convoy (before 10 am)
  • Back to BF Lodge.
    • While the convoy is fueling up at a gas station in Buluan, journalists Zonio and Bernaldez transfer from the UNTV car to Jubelag’s car. The three decide to break off from the convoy, drop by the BF Lodge in Tacurong where they were checked in, to fetch some stuff and to reconsider their security situation.

  • Motorbike-riding men.
    • Back at the BF Lodge, Aquiles is told that two men on board a motorbike had been asking the hotel for their names. Hotel personnel say they didn’t give the names. Alarmed by the development, the three journalists decide to go back to Buluan to check with Mangudadatu instead of catching up with the convoy. (MindaNews timeline)

4. Two non-convoy vehicles join (before 10 am)

  • Two vehicles
    • Two vehicles are not part of the convoy but happen to be traveling on the same section of the highway at the same time: a red Toyota Vios (vehicle 8) and a light blue Toyota Tamaraw FX (vehicle 9).
      - The Vios has five passengers: Eduardo Lechonsito, a government employee who is bound for a hospital in Cotabato City after suffering a mild stroke Monday morning; his wife Cecille; co-workers Mercy Palabrica and Daryll delos Reyes; and driver Wilhelm Palabrica.
      - The FX is driven by Anthony Ridao, an employee of the National Statistics Coordination Board and son of Cotabato City councilor Marino Ridao.

  • Ali maintains distance
    • Ali purposely maintains a “reasonable distance" of about 20 meters from the main convoy. This enables at least one of the two vehicles that are not part of the convoy (it is still unclear whether it was Lechonsito’s Vios or Ridao’s Tamaraw FX) to get ahead of Ali’s car, thereby appearing to be part of the convoy.


    1. Malating checkpoint set up (before 10 am)
  • Breakfast at Datu Anwar’s (8 am) .
    • The group led by Andal Jr., including Ebus, eat breakfast at a restaurant owned by Datu Anwar Ampatuan in Shariff Aguak. After eating, the group proceeds to Sitio Malating. (Ebus testimony)

  • Andal Jr.’s convoy.
    • Andal Jr.'s convoy allegedly include his black pick-up truck, red, black, and white vans, a Hummer truck, and a police patrol car. (Esmael testimony)

  • Dicay and Kanor.
    • Manning the checkpoint on Nov. 23 are Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay and around 100 armed policemen and militiamen. Datu Kanor Ampatuan is allegedly with them. (Mauyag testimony)

2. Convoy reaches Sitio Malating, is stopped (around 10 am)

  • Convoy stops at Malating checkpoint.
    • The main convoy and the two other vehicles that are mixed in by accident reach Sitio Malating, barangay Salman, Ampatuan town, some four to ten kilometers from their destination. The road is blocked by a group of about 100 armed men manning a checkpoint.

  • Mauyag version.
    • In Mauyag’s version, the armed men at the checkpoint are led by Datu Kanor Ampatuan. Mauyag hears Kanor allegedly using a two-way radio to inform someone of the Mangudadatu convoy’s arrival. (Mauyag testimony)

  • Dicay and Diongon versions.
    • In the sworn affidavits of PCI Sukarno Adil Dicay and PInsp Rex Ariel Diongon, both police officers assigned to the checkpoint:
      - the convoy was ordered to stop for a routine inspection
      - at that point, armed men including Andal Jr. suddenly appear and commandeer the vehicles.

3. Convoy passengers undergo initial maltreatment (around 10 am)

  • Kanor-led men harass convoy based on Mauyag testimony.

    • - Kanor's men allegedly approach the victims' vehicles, "bang them and point guns to the passengers." Allegedly upon Kanor’s orders, his men force the victims to alight from their vehicles, take away their cellphones, bags, and other personal belongings.
      - Kanor allegedly orders three of the convoy’s drivers to go back to their respective vehicles and park them on the side of the road.
      - The victims are then herded to the front of "Canteen Kerem" on the other side of the road, where they wait for Andal Jr.'s arrival.

  • Rasul Sangki testimony.
    • In Rasul Sangki’s testimony, Andal Jr. and his men appear to be in another location when the Mangudadatu convoy is intercepted. It’s Sukarno Dicay that informs Andal Jr., who asks Dicay if anybody in the convoy is armed. Dicay replies in the negative, says they are mostly women. Andal Jr. radios his father: "Father, they're already here." Andal Sr. allegedly replies, "Son, you already know what you must do."

4. Andal Jr. and his men arrive (shortly after 10 am)

  • Mauyag version

    • - Andal Jr. allegedly arrives and approaches the convoy passengers, shouts: "Dapa!" (Lie face down.)
      - He allegedly asks his men to check if the victims still have their cellular phones with them.
      - He then allegedly personally frisks the passengers, then orders the people to stand up once more.
      - "Who among you here belong to the Mangudadatus?" Andal Jr. reportedly asks the group.
      - Andal Jr. allegedly grabs one of the women in the group, tells her "matigas ang ulo mo, papatayin kita (You hard-headed one, I’m going to kill you)," and then fires a shot "in between her legs," which does not hit her. The witness described the woman as "maganda, maputi, at matangkad (beautiful, fair-skinned, and tall)."
      - Several female journalists are seen "crying and saying that they be spared since they are from the media."

  • Diongon version

    • - Andal Jr. and his private army arrive at the checkpoint on board 15 vehicles.
      - When the victims’ convoy arrive, they are stopped and Andal Jr. allegedly orders the passengers to get out of their vehicles.
      - Andal notices one of the male passengers (identified by Diongon as mediaman Andres Teodoro) and pokes him with his M16. Teodoro was allegedly shouting and begging: "Datu, huwag ako. Tauhan ako ni RG (Datu, don’t hurt me. I’m a supporter of RG)." [RG means “regional governor."] Andal Jr. pokes Teodoro some more, then proceeds to the other passengers of the convoy.
      - Andal Jr.'s men allegedly join in mauling the victims using their firearms.

  • Genalyn alerts Toto.
    • Mangudadatu, Toto's wife, calls her husband to briefly tell him what was happening. She says Andal Jr. is there and she is being manhandled.

  • Tail vehicle stops at some distance, quietly leaves area.
    • Ali, Laguia, and Mamasalanang are aboard the tail vehicle some distance away. When they notice the convoy being accosted, they step out of their car “to urinate and at the same time observe the scenario." All three witnesses claim to have seen Andal Jr. approach the vehicle Genalyn Mangudadatu was riding. The witnesses also claim to have heard several gunshots. At that point, they board their car “in fear" and hurriedly drive back to Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.

  • Passengers reboard the vehicles.
    • The victims are ordered to board the vehicles. A woman is separated from the group and brought to the red pick-up van, where Datu Kanor sits. Datu Kanor orders his men to dismantle the checkpoint. The vehicles drive off. (Mauyag testimony)

5. Hijacked convoy brought to massacre site (between 10 am to 10:30 am)

  • The armed men commandeer the remaining six vehicles in the convoy, as well as the accidental Vios and FX passengers.
  • They are driven to a hilly and sparsely-populated part of Sitio Masalay still in barangay Salman, Ampatuan town, some 2.5 kilometers from the highway checkpoint where they were abducted. It takes them 30 minutes to reach the site.


1. Commandeered convoy arrives at sitio Masalay (around 10:30 am)

  • Arrival.
    • The 30-vehicle convoy arrives at the massacre site: a hilly, sparsely-populated part of sitio Masalay, barangay Salman, some 2.5 km from the highway.

  • Local farmer notices.
    • Between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., farmer Esmael was about to bring his harvest to a corn mill in Sitio Masalay with his carabao when he saw around 30 vehicles arriving in the village. He sees Andal Jr. and "more than 100" armed men in fatigues alight from the vehicles. He also recognized Dicay as one of the policemen who was with Andal Jr. at the massacre site from 10 a.m. until early afternoon. (Esmael testimony)

  • Did Dicay accompany Andal Jr. at massacre site?
    • Accused Inspector Michael Joy Macaraeg has a conflicting testimony given at a separate Napolcom hearing last July. His version: He and other members of the 1508th Regional Mobile Group follow Dicay’s order to man the checkpoint. All the policemen stay at the checkpoint while the members of the Ampatuan private army proceed to the massacre site at Masalay. (Macaraeg testimony)

  • Were the three mass graves dug earlier?
    • At the site, a heavy-duty backhoe has earlier been used to dig three mass graves. There is a possibility the pits may have been dug out earlier in anticipation of its victims.
      - Grave A is 10-12 feet deep
      - Grave B is also 10-12 feet deep
      - Grave C is 5 feet deep

2. Victims attempt to communicate with outside before killing

  • 25-year-old Noel Decena of the Koronadal-based weekly, Periodico Ini, sends an SMS to his brother, Joseph Decena, who is in Midsayap: "Lab, i-ampo ko diri kay naa na mi diri sa Ampatuan. I-pray mo kami dito. Kritikal amo sitwasyon diri. (Lab, we’re here already at Ampatuan. Pray for us here. Our situation is critical)."

3. The actual killing (between 10:30 am – 11:30 am)

  • Victims forced out of vehicles, frisked, made to lie prone on the ground.
    • Andal Jr. allegedly orders "more or less" 10 people from the convoy to alight from their vehicles and form a line outside (Ebus, Esmael testimonies), then frisks the victims and pulls their shirts up (Mauyag testimony) and made to lie down facing the ground (Esmael testimony).

  • They are killed batch by batch at close range.
    • The armed men systematically kill the hostages batch by batch, shooting them at close range with rapid-fire weapons. Many of the victims are crying and begging for mercy.

  • Andal Jr. allegedly shoots 40 of 57.
    • Andal Jr. allegedly leads his armed men in firing at the victims, some of whom were pleading for their lives (Esmael, Ebus testimonies) Andal Jr. allegedly uses an M203 to shoot two women and a journalist identified as Jimmy “Pal-ak" Cabillo of the Midland Review. Andal Jr. and Cabillo knew each other. Cabillo pleads for his life but Andal Jr. shoots him down anyway (Rasul Sangki testimony). Andal Jr. allegedly shoots an estimated 40 of the 57 victims (Ebus testimony).

  • Manner of killing

    • - Contrary to the initial reports released by the Mangudadatu family, none of the retrieved bodies were beheaded.
      - At least some of the victims were shot in the genital area. Others were mutilated. Many were shot in the face, rendering them virtually unrecognizable.
      - Most if not all of the female victims' pants were unzipped. This was initially attributed either to the possibility that they were frisked for valuables or to the natural bloating that bodies undergo in the hours after death. (Khu)
      - Genalyn Mangudadatu sustains 17 gunshot wounds all over her body, an indication that the perpetrators really wanted to make sure she is dead. "The victim died in a cruel, brutal, and atrocious manner. The shots were intended to kill. She suffered the most painful death." (Dr. Ricardo Rodaje testimony)

  • Weapons used

    • - At least six different M16 rifles were used (i.e., fired but not necessarily used to kill), based on an analysis of the 126 empty 5.56mm shells, four spent bullets, one live bullet, and a metal fragment found at the site. At least one of the M16s was belt-fed, possibly a Shrike mini-M16 rifle, based on 32 pieces of ammo link chains found on the site. (Khu)
      - It appears that all the victims were killed by M16 bullets, except Manila Bulletin reporter Alejandro “Bong" Reblando, who was killed with a shotgun.
      - At least one M14 rifle was used, based on the discovery of three empty 7.62mm shells.
      - At least one AK47 rifle was used, based on the discovery of one 7.62mm empty shell.
      - It is unclear if bladed weapons were also used.

  • Possibility of rape

    • - Subsequent post-mortem investigations revealed that five of the 21 female victims tested positive for traces of semen, but it has yet to be determined if these resulted from rape by the perpetrators of the crime. Investigators have declared this as "presumptive" evidence of sexual abuse pending further tests.
      - So far, only one of the female victims has been declared positive for sexual abuse.

  • Esmael leaves scene unharmed (Esmael testimony)

    • - After the first round of shots, Esmael decides to leave the scene, but he hears Andal Jr say: "Hoy, iyong mamang may kalabaw, pabalikin niyo dito."
      - One of the armed men advises him to move away and hide in a grassy area about 200 meters away from the crime scene.
      - "Doon po ako nagtago. Kasi mataas iyon at makikita ko ang nangyari at tinignan ko kung may mangyayari pang iba," he said.
      - Esmael said the shooting lasted for about one hour, and then he saw Andal Jr. and his men get in their vehicles and leave the area.

  • Other peripheral testimonies of the killimg

    • - After the checkpoint incident, Mauyag returns to his nearby house and has lunch. On his way to fetch his family in their other house in the mountains, Mauyag hears successive shots being fired from afar that lasted a good "20 minutes." (Mauyag testimony)
      - As he continued to walk, Mauyag chances upon his neighbor, Rasul, who tells him, "Nagkakabarilan na sa bundok (There’s shooting in the mountains)." Maugay hurries toward his family.
      - Residents hear a brief but very intense burst of automatic weapons fire. After a few minutes, they see around 50 armed men crossing the hills in the direction of Shariff Aguak. (MindaNews timeline)

4. Bodies and vehicles dumped into the mass graves, others left on ground (between 11:30 am and 3 pm)

  • Mauyag sees backhoe.
    • Before returning home, Mauyag is also told by his neighbor’s wife: "Mayroon kaming nakitang backhoe papuntang bundok (We saw a backhoe driving up the mountain)." Mauyag walks further up the road. From afar—about one kilometer based on his estimate—he sees the backhoe.

  • Details of the backhoe and drivers (Khu)

    • - Around half an hour after the convoy is diverted to the massacre site, a trailer brings the backhoe to the highway crossing that leads to the site. The backhoe then enters. (MindaNews timeline, citing Khu)
      - Other investigators describe the trailer as a prime mover truck that is supposed to carry the backhoe to and from the massacre site.
      - The backhoe is yellow-colored, and stamped with the words “Property of the province of Maguindanao - Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr." in black letters on the engine casing at the back of the operator’s booth.
      - News footage shows the model number PC-300 and the Komatsu brand.
      - The backhoe was assigned to at least three drivers: Hamid Dilayuden, Efren Macanas, and Albert Panganiban. The driver of the prime mover truck was identified as Pedro Sodolig.

  • Backhoe arrives and does its dirty work.
    • The backhoe arrives as Andal Jr. and his men start leaving the massacre site. The killers start dumping the bodies and vehicles into the mass graves, and begin covering up the site using the backhoe. (Ebus testimony) The killings and subsequent burials take just over an hour (masked witness interviewed on Al Jazeera)
      - The backhoe was also used to crush the victims' vehicles before these were buried under the ground. (Esmael testimony)
      - The bodies are buried in alternate layers of soil alongside the vehicles, in a way which is “intended to make things difficult" for investigators; investigators count six layers. (Khu report)

  • In Grave A
    • are 24 victims, including:
      - three of the five Vios passengers;
      - the FX Tamaraw driver, Anthony Ridao;
      - Genalyn Mangdadatu
      - Eden Mangudadatu, and
      - Farina Mangudadatu

  • In Grave B
    • are six victims along with three of the vehicles, crushed by the backhoe before being buried
      - the Vios
      - the L-300
      - the Tamaraw FX

  • In Grave C
    • are five victims

  • The other dead bodies and vehicles are left unburied. (MindaNews timeline)

    • - 21 dead bodies on the ground (inside and outside vehicles): fifteen females, six males.
      - 5 vehicles were left unburied: four Toyota Grandia with plate numbers MVM 789, MVM 884, MVM 885 and LGH 247, and one Pajero with plate number MCB 335.
      - Reblando was found hogtied in the driver’s seat of the Pajero owned by DzRH's Henry Araneta.

  • The backhoe's engine either breaks down or ran out of fuel.
    • It appears this is one reason why the other dead bodies and vehicles were left unburied. (Esmael testimony).

5. Army’s 601st Brigade informed of abduction (11 am)

  • 601 Brigade HQ receives info that a five-vehicle convoy was flagged down by fully armed men at brgy Masalay and taken towards brgy Saniag. The Brigade commander orders the 64th IB to conduct rescue operations. (MindaNews timeline)


1. Army troops search possible areas for abducted convoy (11 am to 1:30 pm)

  • 64th IB troops focus on barangays Masalay and Saniag
    • (MindaNews timeline)
      - At 1 p.m., 64th IB troops arrive at brgy Masalay and coordinate with Chief Inspector Dicay and his men who were conducting checkpoints. Dicay says his team has no knowledge on the alleged abduction.
      - At 1:30 p.m., the troops with four armored vehicles advance east toward brgy Saniag to check site where the abducted convoy was allegedly brought

2. Army troops approach area, arrest 2 (before 3 pm)

  • At 2:50 p.m., the troops sight six vehicles along the trail after traveling some 3 km from the highway in brgy Saniag. Troops immediately proceed to check the site.

  • When the Army troops are still approaching about one kilometer from the crime scene, they hear the backhoe's engine roar and see engine smoke coming from the heavy equipment. Just before the Army arrived, the prime mover (cab) of the trailer disengaged and fetched the backhoe operator, which accounts for why troops reportedly found the backhoe engine still running. (Khu)

  • Army troops arrest two CVO members armed with an M16 rifle and a Gauge 12 shotgun. Khu described the arrest as a major break since only one victim, Bong Reblando, was killed with a shotgun. (MindaNews timeline)

    - The two CVOs were reportedly turned over to Ampatuan police OIC SPO4 Badawi Bacal, who turned them over to the vice mayor.
    - The two CVOs had not been heard from since although later news reports said the two CVOs had been found.

3. Killers flee the massacre site (before 3 pm)

  • The killers receive a call warning them of approaching Army troops, possibly from lookouts. (Al Jazeera witness)
  • The killers hurriedly flee just before the troops arrive, leaving behind more than two dozen unburied victims and their vehicles, as well as the backhoe used to dig the graves.
  • Andal Jr. is accompanied by Ebus, five other policemen, five Army soldiers, and 30 CVO members. (Ebus testimony)
    After the killings, Ebus and the other escorts of Andal Jr. are allegedly instructed to hide their firearms. (Ebus testimony)
  • On his way back to his house past 3 p.m., he chances upon the backhoe operator reporting to someone over a two-way radio that the heavy equipment had broken down."Sabi niya, 'Bilisan niyo. Dalhin ang krudo dito at ang prime mover dahil nahuli ang backhoe natin. May ebidensiya,'" the witness recounted the driver as saying over the radio. (Esmael testimony)

4. Army troops arrive at the massacre site (3 pm)

  • 3:00 pm Helicopter of Mayor Jhong Mangudadatu finds site in sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, and hovers for some 10 minutes until troops arrive. (MindaNews timeline)
  • When troops arrive, all the killers have left. The troops immediately secure the area prior to the arrival of the PNP SOCO Team for proper investigation. (MindaNews timeline)
  • The Army troops see 22 of the victims lying dead on the ground or in the vehicles. Soon after, they discover the newly-covered graves.
  • 10 p.m. The PNP SOCO Team under Chief Supt Felicisimo Khu arrives at the crime scene and immediately conducts investigation, works throughout the night retrieving bodies and vehicles. (MindaNews timeline)

5. Killers allegedly regroup later that day (evening)

  • Later that night, Ebus and other escorts of Andal Jr. allegedly gather for two separate meetings. (Ebus testimony)
    - In one meeting on a nearby mountain, Andal Jr. allegedly advises around 50 gathered men, "Maghiwa-hiwalay muna tayo. Huwag muna tayo magkita-kita."
    - After the meeting, the men go down the mountain, and gather once more at about 10:30 p.m. allegedly at the mansion of Andal Jr. at Shariff Aguak.


  1. GMANews.TV stories on the Maguindanao massacre, Nov. 23-present
  2. Nov. 25, 2009 phone interviews with AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr.
  3. Nov. 26, 2009 and subsequent interviews with Chief Supt. Felicisimo Villamor Khu Jr., deputy director general for administration of the Police Regional Office 12 and head of the Task Force formed by the Department of Justice to investigate the Ampatuan massacre.
  4. Al Jazeera interview of reported witness
  5. Sworn affidavits of PCI Sukarno Adil Dicay and PInsp Rex Ariel Tabao Diongon, as witnessed by Atty. Alfredo L. Villamayor Jr. on Nov. 29 in Camp Crame, Quezon City
  6. Sworn affidavits of Sandamen Raja Ali, Basit T. Laguia, and Judge Mamasalanang, as witnessed by Prosecutor Elmer D. Lastimosa, General Santos City Prosecution Office on Nov. 26
  7. Nov. 25, 2009 report from Bantay Ceasefire Volunteer Romy Elusfa
  8. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) website
  9. TIMELINE: The Maguindanao Massacre (Compiled by MindaNews for the FFFJ-NUJP Fact-Finding Team)
  10. Report of the Humanitarian and Fact-Finding Mission to Maguindanao, 25-30 November 2009
  11. Zonio-Jubelag account: Aquiles Zonio and Joseph Jubelag were with the convoy but broke off along the way, thus becoming two of the few who got away from the massacre.
  12. Prosecution witnesses
    - 1st witness: Ampatuan town vice mayor Rasul Sangki
    - 2nd witness: farmer Norodin Mauyag, whose house was near the checkpoint, and who said he witnessed events at the checkpoint
    - 3rd witness: Akmad Abubakar Esmael, farmer whose residence is near the crime scene at sitio Masalay, the massacre site, and so far the only non-accused witness with a first-hand account of the killings
    - 4th witness: Police Inspector Rex Ariel Diongon; at that time, head of the PNP’s 1508th Regional Mobile Group
    - 5th witness: PO1 Rainer Ebus, who says he served as Andal Jr.’s personal driver and escort
    - Dr. Ricardo Rodaje, who conducted an autopsy on the body of Genalyn Mangudadatu
    - Mohammad Sangki, Sangguinang Bayan official in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao, who corroborated the testimony of his nephew, Ampatuan town Vice-Mayor Rasul Sangki, who was the 1st witness

  1. Andal Ampatuan Sr., Maguindanao governor, is father and namesake of prime suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr., mayor of Datu Unsay town in the same province. The younger Ampatuan was allegedly seen at the scene of the abduction.
  2. Drivers of backhoe and prime move truck: Dilayuden and Sodolig remain at large, while Macanas and Panganiban are in the custody of the NBI and PNP, respectively. There is no official statement from the drivers as yet.
  3. The two “government militia" men arrested by Army soldiers near the massacre site had to be turned over to government authorities due to jurisdiction issues, and were subsequently released. The two men have not been identified nor have they been found since then.
  4. A supposed witness interviewed by Al Jazeera claimed to be one of the armed men ordered to do the killing but was bothered by his conscience.
  5. Another possible eyewitness of the prosecution, Suwaib Upham, who had said he was among the gunmen, was earlier killed in Maguindanao after he failed to be admitted to the Witness Protection Program.

- JV, GMANews.TV

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