Accused Datu Unsay Ampatuan and three other witnesses testified for the defense panel that they were not present at the site of the massacre on the day the Mangudadatu convoy was ambushed. One witness recanted his earlier testimony that he saw Datu Unsay's convoy going toward the massacre site, and later heard gunshots.
The Ampatuans, according to prosecution witnesses, had planned to murder Toto Mangudadatu as early as July 2009, when he declared he was running for governor to contest the Ampatuans' control over Maguindanao province.
There is, according to defense lawyers, not enough evidence to convict Datu Unsay Ampatuan. for the massacre of 58 persons. His lawyer said neither the bullets nor the guns used in the massacre were presented in court, and that the prosecution presented “incentivized witnesses” who testified in exchange for money or favors, or were relatives of the Mangudadatus.
The defense panel invokes the high bar of "presumption of innocence" for the accused, under the Constitution. The prosecution says it has presented evidence and eyewitnesses to show that Datu Unsay Ampatuan committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt.