A police official has confirmed that a potential witness in the Maguindanao massacre had been killed, a private prosecutor said Wednesday.
In all, six people-three witnesses and three relatives of other witnesses-have been killed in connection with the trial of the politically influential Ampatuan family accused in the Nov. 23, 2009 murders of 57 people, including the wife of the current Maguindanao governor, Esmael Mangudadatu.
Nena Santos, a counsel of the Mangudadatus, said Senior Superintendent Marcelo Pintac, the police director of Maguindanao, had reported that Alijol Ampatuan was shot in Shariff Aguak, the provincial capital, in February, and that he later died.
Alijol was a distant relative of former Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., who is among the 196 people accused in the massacre. Of the number, 96 people have been arrested and detained, including the former governor and seven members of his family.
Santos said Alijol was not immediately identified because he was then named by investigators as "Menjie Mangulamas Ubpon." She said that according to Pintac's report, Police Officer 3 Rainier Ebus identified Alijol. Ebus reportedly knew Alijol personally.
"He was killed. We got a report from Pintac that he was shot in February in Shariff Aguak," Santos said after a hearing in the case Wednesday in Bicutan, Taguig.
Santos said the five others killed in connection with the Ampatuan trial were witnesses Suwaib Upham, Esmael Amil Enog and three relatives of other witnesses.