Philippine Massacre Primary Suspect Surrenders
The primary suspect of the massacre in the Philippine province of Maguindanao has surrendered to authorities. The massacre death toll now stands at 57, Philippine network ABS-CBN reports.
Buluan mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr surrendered to Philippine authorities late morning of Thursday, November 26. The Ampatuan family released a statement that the surrender was made as a sign that the mayor is not trying to hide. He turned himself in to Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs Jesus Dureza. He was flown in using a helicopter from the Maguindanao provincial capitol and is bound to General Santos City where he will be turned over to Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera.
The military took control over the provincial capitol to assure that there will be a peaceful turnover. The province is under state of emergency by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo giving her and the military extra powers over the area.
The massacre took place last Monday, November 23 after the convoy of the wife and sister of a rival candidate of Ampatuan were seized by 100 gunmen on their way to file certificates of candidacy for the 2010 national elections. They were all suspected of being raped before they were killed. A total of 12 journalists covering the filing were also killed in the massacre.