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Maguindanao massacre verdict out Dec. 19

After a decade of waiting for justice, a Quezon City court will finally hand down on December 19 its verdict on the infamous Maguindanao massacre.

The savage murder of 58 people, including 32 media men, on November 23, 2009 has been known worldwide as the most gruesome election-related single mass killing involving journalists.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC) Branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes announced on November 29 that judgment on the multiple murder case will be held at 9 a.m. at the Quezon City Jail-Annex inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

The resolution of the Maguindanao massacre case will come a day earlier than the “non-extendible” deadline set by the Supreme Court on December 20, 2019 after Reyes requested for a one-month extension to resolve the case.

On November 23, 2009, the Maguindanao massacre left 58 people dead,  32 of them media workers, some civilians and some members of the Mangudadatu clan.

To recall, majority of the victims were part of the convoy that would file the certificate of candidacy of then Buluan Vice-Mayor Esmael “Toto’’ Magundadatu for the gubernatorial post of Maguindanao province against a member of the Ampatuan family.

After the killing, the bodies of the victims were found in shallow graves in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province.

Primary suspect Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. was mayor of Datu Unsay town when his heavily armed troops allegedly shot and decapitated the victims’ bodies with chainsaws.

Of the 197 original suspects facing multiple murder charges, only 116 have been arrested with 107 being tried while the case against five others were dismissed. (Chito A. Chavez)