Attack of would-be witnesses in Maguindanao massacre case impedes trial: NUJP

Nov. 20, 2014

TAGUM CITY—The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on Thursday said the killing in ambush of Dennis Sakal, a would-be witness in the infamous Maguindanao massacre case may impede the ongoing trial.

“Whatever the motives, this latest attack on potential witnesses is a setback that will clearly have an adverse impact on the trial,” says NUJP in an emailed statement.

The killing of Sakal, NUJP said, happened four days before the 5th year commemoration of Maguindanao massacre which killed 58 persons, 32 of whom were journalists and media workers.

NUJP reported that Sukarno Saudagal, another potential witness to the case, was wounded on Wednesday’s ambush.

According to news reports, both Sakal and Saudal were set to file their affidavits in court when the attack happened somewhere in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao.

Sakal and Saudal were  previously employed by the Ampatuans and would have turned witnesses against them in a trial dubbed as the deadliest election-related case in history.

“We demand that government immediately ensure the safety of everyone involved in the trial in the interests of truth and justice,” NUJP said.

The NUJP added that the “death of Dennis Sakal brings to four the number of potential witnesses who have been murdered since the start of the legal process to bring the killers to justice, not to mention three relatives of other potential witnesses.”


According to NUJP, “it has been five long years without justice and more incidents such as this latest attack can only bode ill for speeding up closure to this bloody page in the history of our country and of journalism.” (

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