Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes announced the verdict on Thursday morning at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to culminate a 10-year case at the trial court level. MANILA – After ten years, a guiltyverdict has been laid for those behind the Maguindanao massacre, a gruesomeincident that claimed the lives of 57 people. Eight members of the Ampatuanfamily were among 28 people sentenced to life imprisonment over their roles inan ambush on an election motorcade in Maguindanao province, and thegunning-down of all who witnessed it. Among the victims of the Maguindanao massacrewere 32 journalists in what was one of the world’s single biggest attacks onmedia. Datu Andal Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan were among those who were found guilty and sentenced to reclusion perpetua or a maximum of 40 years in prison without the benefit of parole. The Ampatuan patriarch, Andal, Sr., who was considered as the primary suspect, died of liver cancer in 2015 while the case was being tried. Sajid Islam Ampatuan and Datu Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan Sr., meanwhile, were acquitted due to “reasonable doubt.” Fifty-four others were also absolved from the crime. Datu Andal Jr., also known as Unsay, was mayor of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao province when he and members of his family’s armed group killed 58 people on November 23, 2009. Fourteen cops and an Ampatuan aide, Bong Andal, were sentenced to six to 10 years of imprisonment for being accessories to the crime. The court ordered the arrest of the 80 suspects who remain at large. The Maguindanao massacre was dubbed as the world’s deadliest single attack on media workers, and the worst case of election-related violence in the Philippines./PN A total of 197 people, including 15 Ampatuans, were charged. Over the course of the trial, six were cleared, two discharged as state witnesses, and eight died in detention. Eighty people are still at large. When proceedings wrapped up after more than nine years, 101 defendants remained. Hundreds of volumes and tens of thousands of pages of case records piled up throughout nearly a decade. By the time the case was submitted for resolution last August, Solis-Reyes had heard 357 witnesses over a total of 424 trial days, according to court records. Aside from media practitioners, other victims of massacre include family members and supporters of Mangudadatu. The victims were in a convoy of vehicles headed to the provincial capitol in Shariff Aguak to file Toto his certificate of candidacy when it was blocked by armed men and massacred. Also convicted Ampatuans were Datu Anwar Sajid “Ulo” Ampatuan and Anwar “Ipi” Ampatuan Jr. Some cops led by former Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay of 15th Regional Mobile Group, and a number of civilians got the same punishment. According to witnesses, Zaldy was present during meetings where the clan planned to kill Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who was going to run against Unsay for Maguindanao governor. Two of the Maguindanao massacre case’s primary accused (left) Datu “Unsay” Andal, Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan. ABS-CBN NEWS As stated in the dispositive portion of the 761-page decision, the prosecution was able to “establish the guilt beyond reasonable doubt” of 28 accused, including the said members of the Ampatuan clan.
September 25, 2020