THE Supreme Court has extended the deadline for a ruling on a decade-old case where more than 50 people were massacred in Maguindanao province, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said on Friday.

“We allowed her to have an extension of one month,” the chief magistrate told CNN Philippines, referring to the trial judge who sought the extension.

Quezon City Judge Jocelyn A. Solis-Reyes asked for 30 more days to rule on the murder case against Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and more than 100 other people, citing “voluminous records.” She was allowed to issue a decision by December 20 instead.

The case records have reached 238 volumes, — 165 volumes of records on the trial, 65 records of stenographic notes and 8 records containing the prosecution’s documentary evidence.

“You know very well that there are so many accused and there are so many victims in that case but we also allow meritorious motions for extension and we understand her predicament,” Mr. Peralta said.

The trial court earlier rejected a plea by Mr. Ampatuan, the primary suspect in the massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province on Nov. 23, 2009 to re-open the trial.

The ambush took place when media accompanied then gubernatorial candidate Esmael G. Mangudadatu and his family to the election body where he was to file his certificate of candidacy. Mr. Mangudadatu was then planning to challenge Datu Unsay for governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. — Charmaine A. Tadalan