A QUEZON CITY trial court is expected to rule by Dec. 19 on a decade-long case involving the massacre of more than 50 people, including 32 journalists in Maguindanao province in southern Philippines.
In an order dated Nov. 29, Judge Jocelyn A. Solis-Reyes set the promulgation of the case for Dec. 19 at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The court was supposed to rule before the 10th year anniversary of the massacre on Nov. 23, but it asked the Supreme Court for an extension.
Case records have reached 238 volumes — 165 volumes of records on trials, 62 on stenographic notes, and eight on the prosecution’s documentary evidence.
The trial of primary suspects Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan, Jr. and Zaldy U. Ampatuan ended in August.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said he was glad that “we have finally reached the day of reckoning.”
“The prosecution has presented nearly 200 witnesses, and the defense over a hundred, during an intense trial that lasted several years,” he said in a mobile-phone message.
“We thank the judge for her patience and diligence. We trust that she will dispense justice evenhandedly and with utmost respect for the rule of law,” he added.
The ambush took place while Esmael G. Mangudadatu, who was running for governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was on his way to file his certificate of candidacy. He was accompanied by family members, supporters and members of the media. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas