GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The patriarch of the once powerful Ampatuan family that ruled the Mindanao province of Maguindanao for more than two decades has three to six months left to live, according to reports.
Former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. reportedly has cirrhosis of the liver and has been diagnosed as having a Stage 4 cancer.
Ampatuan has been named as the brains behind the 2009 massacre in southern Mindanao that left 58 people dead, among them 32 journalists and media workers.
He was charged and arrested along with his sons Andal Jr, Zaldy, Sajid, Anwar and son-in-law Akmad ‘Tato’ Ampatuan, who is also a nephew.
The special court hearing the case earlier granted the request of the counsels of Andal Sr for a medical checkup after his health deteriorated while in detention following their arrests.
He was admitted to the National Kidney Institute (NKI) on June 5 where he was diagnosed.
“Prognosis is currently dim as pharmacotic intervention is limited. Life expectancy for such case is usually three to six months but may be shorter if the liver function will continuously and progressively deteriorate,” Dr. Jade Jamias of the NKI said in an advisory.
On November 23, 2009, a convoy of vehicles was flagged down along the national highway in Ampatuan town by armed men led by then Datu Unsay town Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. while on its way to the provincial capitol to file the certificate of candidacy of then Buluan Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu.
The convoy was headed by Mangudadatu’s wife Genalyn and sisters Eden, Farida and Farina and several other relatives and supporters.
The victims were then herded and brought to a nearby secluded hill where they were mercilessly gunned down. A waiting backhoe dug a hole in an apparent attempt to hide the crime. Frantic calls from relatives of the victims, however, brought the military to the massacre site.
The perpetrators, numbering over 150 police, militiamen and private bodyguards hastily left the crime scene leaving a trail of blood and gore.
Of the 196 charged in court, only 106 have been arrested and placed in government custody.
Ampatuan’s youngest son Sajid was also granted bail by the court earlier this year.
Mangudadatu, who challenged the Ampatuans reign in the province, was elected governor in May 2010 and was re-elected in 2013.