BULUAN Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu and his two security details denied allegations that the victim in the shootout inside a Davao City mall last week was intentionally killed.
Mangudadatu in his counter-affidavit said that around 7 p.m. of February 11, he was with his children, his two personal civilian aides and his two policemen escort at the fourth floor of Gaisano South Mall to buy something. After 30 minutes, they brought their items to the cashier since they cannot stay long in public.
He said while they were at the counter with his children, one of them shouted for help, saying somebody was grabbing her hand. He said he grabbed the other hand of her child and was surprised to see Tamano Kamendan, the close-in security aide of Andal Ampatuan Sr.
Kamendan then ran away after the vice mayor noticed him.
Mangudadatu also said he did not order his policemen escorts to shoot Kamendan, adding that no prior conversation took place between him and the victim.
He said the complaint against him that was based on the accounts of Natividad Kamendan, the victim's wife, was susceptible to manipulation.
He said the affidavit executed by Kamendan's widow was not supported by the police officers who responded to the crime scene and it was just unfortunate that Tamano died of accidental gunshot wounds but not because he ordered it.
Police Officers 1 Surab Lintukan Bantas and Ibrahim Langalen, the police escorts of Mangudadatu, also denied in their affidavits the allegation, saying they were with the vice mayor.
The policemen denied that they were ordered by Mangudadatu to shoot Tamano. They said they just responded when the vice mayor asked for help and that one of his children was grabbed by Kamendan.
Bantas said he accidentally shot Kamendan when the latter attacked him and grabbed his service firearm. He also said that the victim attempted to stab him with a glass, thus he accidentally pulled the trigger.
Witnesses also executed their affidavits denying the claim of Kamendan's widow.
Mangudadatu and his two security details were earlier charged with murder based on the accounts of Natividad de Arce Kamendan, 32, a resident of Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao and wife of Tamano.
Natividad said, in her earlier affidavit that she and Tamano were at the fourth floor of Gaisano South mall in Ilustre Street to buy some clothing for their children when they met Mangudadatu.
She said Mangudadatu asked her husband in Maguindanaoan dialect where his boss is, in which the victim replied, "No get ren da ako lo (I am no longer going there)."
The Buluan vice mayor then asked where they were staying, and Tamano replied that they live in his wife’s aunt in Toril.
Natividad further said that when her husband asked to be excused, Mangudadatu ordered his escort to shoot Tamano, who then ran away and was chased by one of the vice mayor’s companions.
Natividad said she told her husband not to run, but saw the man chasing him draw out a hand gun and then she heard a shot. She added that she, with several sales girls, rushed to a stock room to hide as more gunshots rang out.
She said she only went out after about 15 minutes and saw several policemen in the area. It was then that she learned her husband was already dead.
Tamano is reportedly among those who participated in the killing of 57 people, including 30 journalists, on November 23, 2009.
Mangudadatu's wife, sister and relatives were among the 57 people killed in Ampatuan, Maguindanao last year.
The massacre victims were on their way to Shariff Aguak to file the certificate of candidacy of Mangudadatu, who is running for governor of Maguindanao, when they were stopped and killed by the suspects led by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.