The prime suspect in the Maguindanao Massacre gave himself up this morning to authorities. He denied any participation in the crime.(Rubbish!) A reporter from Al, Marga Ortigas, who is In Buluan to cover the event, reported talking to an eyewitness to the incident. Here is an excerpt of her report:

"His surrender comes as a man who says he was a witness to Monday's killings told Al Jazeera that Ampatuan Jr had directly ordered the massacre targeting a political rival for the provincial governorship.

The witness, who identified himself only as "Boy", said he was among more than 100 armed men who held up a convoy of political campaigners and journalists before taking them to a remote mountainous area.

He said Ampatuan Jr had ordered the gunmen to kill all the members of a rival political clan, including women and children, and to make sure no evidence was left behind.

"Datu Andal himself said… anyone from the Mangudadatu clan - women or children - should be killed," he told Al Jazeera.

"We don't ask why, we just follow orders."

"Boy", who is now in hiding fearing his life is in danger, said all of the women in the group had been raped before being killed and their bodies dumped in mass graves that had already been dug out using an excavator."

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With a backhoe from the provincial motorpool having been used to dig up the shallow graves for the victims (left in the crime scene apparently in a hurried escape), an accusing finger must be pointed at the older Ampatuan too! Ampatuan Sr. must also be charged as an accessory to this crime. Everyone responsible must be punished. Let us not be fooled into accepting Ampatuan Jr. as the sole escape goat for this despicable crime.

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