By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan, Phil News Agency
A prosecution witness who first took the witness stand two years ago directly linking the influential Ampatuan clan to the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case testified anew and claimed that the prime suspect in the gruesome killings took refuge in the mountain to escape authorities.
Lakmudin Saliao, a close-in-help of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. told Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes during the resumption of the hearing on Wednesday that former Datu Unsay town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. hid in the mountain of Datu Hoffer on the day after the killings.
Saliao, who was called to the witness stand Wednesday to identify two of the accused in the case, Anwar and Akmad Ampatuan, said he knew of this after he was instructed to call Anwar at about 3 pm on November 23, 2009 using the cellular phone of the clan’s patriarch.
He said Anwar was in the mountain of Datu Hoffer, reportedly a stronghold of the Ampatuan when he called him.
In his previous testimony, Saliao said he was the one who dialled the numbers and answered the cellular phone of Andal Sr. as the former governor was not knowledgeable about using it.
When asked why Anwar was in Datu Hoffer, Saliao said he was hiding Andal Jr. bcause the military was looking for him after reports said he was the one who led the gunmen in killing the victims, including 31 journalists.
Defense lawyer Paris Real earlier objected to the prosecution’s line of questioning saying that Saliao was called to the witness stand to identify Anwar and Akmad and not add to his previous testimonies.
Real also took offense to what he said the late advisory given by the prosecution on the identity of their witness at Wednesday’s hearing.