Several meetings were held in Malakanyang austensibly to resolve the worsening rift between the warlord clan Ampatuan and the Mangundadatus in Maguindanao prior to the gruesome massacre but those meetings never amounted to anything.
These meetings, attended by former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro and several high-ranking officials of the administration party, Lakas-KAMPI NUCD, aimed to dissuade Buluan vice mayor Toto Mangundadatu from contesting the gubernatorial seat of Andal Ampatuan.
Mangundadatu was offered by the administration several government posts, including an ambassadorial post, a Cabinet-rank position or as administrator of government properties.
Mangundadatu rejected the offer of the administration.
It was also learned from various sources that Datu Unday mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. gave several death threats to Mangundadatu. Mangundadatu reported the matter to the ARMM Regional PNP director Paisal Umpa. Umpa reportedly rejected the plea for protection of Mangundadatu.
Three days before the massacre, the backhoe of the Provincial Government of Maguindanao was seen in the crime scene. Armed men, including UNIFORMED MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE (PNP) were already in the area prior to the massacre. Checkpoints were set up by the local police upon the direct orders from the Provincial government of Maguindanao.
It was also learned that a group of people, mostly members of Shariff Aguak town’s police force, cased the Mangundadatu house several hours before the Mangundadatu’s convoy went ahead to file the CoC.
Fifty seven cadavers, most of them mangled beyond recognition, were recovered from the shallow grave.