DAVAO CITY -- The management of a shopping mall here denied allegations that it has ordered its employees not to cooperate in the ongoing investigation on the shooting incident that killed an alleged Ampatuan supporter last week.
Lawyer Glenn Solana said the management of JS Gaisano South Mall, where Buluan town Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu’s security escorts and an alleged supporter of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. figured in a shootout, is willing to cooperate in any investigation and will release any document needed to help in the probe.
"The employees are prohibited to talk to anybody during work time pero it’s not true na 'di sila pinapakausap. Puwede naman sila kausapin during their break and lunchtime (it’s not true that they were not allowed to talk to anybody. They can be interviewed during their break)," Solana said Friday.
He added that in the course of the investigation, the mall’s concern remains to be serving its customers.
Mangudadatu and his two security details -- PO1 Ibrahim Langalen and PO1 Surab Lintukan Bantas -- were earlier charged with murder for allegedly killing Tamano Kagi Kamendan last February 11.
Tamano was an alleged close-in security aide of the Ampatuans, Mangudadatus’ rival clan.
The murder charge was filed based on the reports of Natividad de Arce Kamendan, wife of Tamano.
In her affidavit, Natividad said she and Tamano were at the fourth floor of Gaisano South mall when they met Mangudadatu, who was shopping together with his daughters.
She denied that her husband tried to grab Mangudadatu's daughter and further claimed that the vice mayor ordered his men to shoot her husband after talking to him.
She also said that she would have been shot as well if not for the mall’s sales attendants who helped in hiding her.
In the counter-affidavits filed by Mangudadatu’s camp, however, the three respondents denied the allegation that Tamano was intentionally shot.
Mangudadatu also denied that he talked to the victim before the alleged shootout.
The policemen, in their claims, said they were just responding to the incident when Mangudadatu asked for help because one of the vice mayor's children was grabbed by Kamendan.
As of Friday, police investigators are still trying to find out what really happened during the shootout.
But while the investigation is ongoing, prosecutors handling the murder case filed against Mangudadatu and his bodyguards have subpoenaed a television network that caught on tape the alleged shootout inside the mall along Ilustre Street, this city.
Chief City Prosecutor Raul B. Bendigo has created a panel to resolve Mangudadatu’s case and subpoenaed ABS-CBN Network for the footage of the crime scene and the inquest proceeding.
Inquest prosecutor Jofre Saniel will be joined by prosecutors Maria Gemma Dabbay-Tamis and Carlos Castaños to complete the panel. (RMH/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)