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Maguindanao massacre verdict out before Christmas

Wooden gavel on podium.Trial court decision on the multiple murder cases involving the 2009 Maguindanao massacre is expected before Christmas this year as the Supreme Court gave Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes additional 30 days to resolve the cases.

Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, in a meeting yesterday morning with journalists covering the SC, said Judge Reyes’ plea for one-month extension to decide the cases was granted by the High Court.

A memorandum sent to Judge Reyes by Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez stated:

“This office finds the ground for your request reasonable and hereby grants the same. Please be reminded, however, that you are hereby granted a non-extendible period of 30 days from 20 November 2018, or until 20 December 2019, within which to decide the said criminal cases.”

Based on the memorandum, Reyes requested an extension because of voluminous records involved in the cases – 165 volumes of records of proceedings, 65 volumes of transcripts of stenographic notes, and eight volumes of prosecution’s documentary evidence.

Fifty-eight persons died in Barangal Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009 in the incident now known as the Maguindanao massacre.

Those killed were part of a convoy that was to accompany the registration of then Buluan, Maguindanao Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu for the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Multiple murder cases were filed against 197 accused.  The trial of the case eventually landed in the sala of Reyes.

Under the rules, Reyes should resolve the cases on or before Nov. 20, 2019 or 90 days after they were submitted for resolution last August.

But Reyes, in a plea submitted to the SC, requested a 30-day extension to resolve the cases.  This was granted by the SC. (Rey Panaligan)