CA junks 3 Maguindanao massacre suspects’ bid to turn witness

Marje Pelayo   •   July 30, 2018   •   2911

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld its order prohibiting three of the accused in the Maguindanao massacre from turning into state witnesses.

In a resolution dated July 10, the CA former special 13th division dismissed the motion for reconsideration by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to turn police inspector Rex Ariel Diongon, PO1 Rainier Ebus and Mohammad Sangki into witnesses as there were no legitimate grounds to warrant a reversal of the previous order.

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 has earlier denied the same petition because the three accused have substantially the same testimonies with other state witnesses. – UNTV News and Rescue

CJ Peralta hopes verdict on Maguindanao massacre will be issued before year-end

Maris Federez   •   November 8, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Journalism students of Bulacan State University light candles in commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre in front of Bulacan Capitol, Malolos City, Bulacan. Photo taken November 21, 2013. | PVI/Junnel Aquino

The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes a 30-day extension in issuing her verdict on the Maguindanao Massacre case.

The case has already been submitted for resolution on August 22 and the court was supposed to come up with a verdict within 90 days or until the third week of November but Judge Reyes requested an extension.

CJ Peralta said they understand Reyes’ predicament due to the voluminous records and evidence that she had to consider which prompted the Supreme Court to approve her request for a one-month extension.

“We also allow meritorious motion for extension and we understand her predicament,” said Peralta.

The chief magistrate, however, expressed hope that Judge Reyes will no longer ask for another extension in issuing her verdict on the case.

“I hope that she will no longer ask for another extension so that before the end of the year those cases will finally be decided,” he said.

According to the memorandum that the SC sent to Reyes, she has until December 30 to arrive at a decision and it is already non-extendible.

On November 23, 2009, armed men ambushed 58 individuals, including 32 members of the media, in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Among the slain was the wife of former Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu who was supposed to file his certificate of candidacy for Maguindanao gubernatorial election, opposing the Ampatuan clan.

The Maguindanao Massacre is considered the world’s worst election-related incident of violence and the deadliest attack against the members of the media. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Maguindanao massacre victims’ lawyer expects a guilty verdict

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 6, 2019

Atty. Nena Santos

The legal counsel of the Maguindanao massacre victims expects that the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 which will be released not later than December 22, will give out a guilty verdict.

Atty. Nena Santos said even if some of the witnesses recanted their statements, it will not affect the verdict of the court.

“Ang nag-recant na mga witnesses (The witnesses who recanted [their statements] are just collaborating witnesses. The main witnesses did not recant so we believe that it will not affect the outcome of the case,” she said.

Over a hundred accused in the Maguindanao massacre, which include several members of the Ampatuan family, are waiting for the court’s decision before the end of the year.

The Quezon City RTC was given 90 days in order to come up with a verdict for a case already submitted for resolution. The 90-day period will lapse on November 22.

However, Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes requested a 30-day extension. —AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Andanar on Maguindanao massacre case: Hoping for decision by November

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 6, 2019

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar hopes that there will be a decision on the Maguindanao massacre case by November.

“The court has already deemed the case as submitted for decision, and barring unforeseen circumstances, we are hoping for a decision by the 3rd week of November,” Andanar said in a statement.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a letter to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) on Tuesday (Sept 3) stating that the case has already been submitted for decision.

Andanar said the Duterte administration expects that justice will prevail for the victims of the massacre as well as their families.

“This is another addition to President Duterte’s legacy, that one of the most despicable acts against journalists in the history of the world will finally come to a close during his term,” he added.

READ: DOJ: Maguindanao massacre verdict out by November

Meanwhile, the PTFOMS said they will remain vigilant to ensure that there will be no more delays regarding the case.

“We will exhaust all means to help guard the sanctity of the judicial process in these crucial times, so that justice may finally be served in these cases,” according to PTFOMs executive director Presidential Communications Usec. Joel Egco.

This year will be the 10th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre that happened on November 23, 2009.

Fifty people were killed during the incident which includes 32 journalists.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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