After 10 years, the case involving the killing of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in Maguindanao is finally up for resolution.
Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Reyes on Monday rejected the repeated filing of motions by the defense, which had delayed the case.
Reyes gave the defense and prosecution 15 days to file their respective memorandum, after which the court will hand down its decision.
“After the lapse of said period, with or without the parties memoranda, the cases should be deemed submitted for decision,” the judge said.
Multiple counts of murder were filed against former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his relatives for the killing of 58 people on Nov. 23, 2009.
Reyes did not allow the defense lawyers’ bid to present witnesses and other pieces of evidence.
“The Court is of the view that the repeated filing of motions by the accused-movant (Ampatuan) bearing similar allegations, which obviously violates its clear directive pursuant to the order dated
May 21, 2019, must be stopped lest the proceedings of these cases will become ad infinitum, thereby resulting not only to the prejudice of the private complainants but also his co-accused as well, who had long terminated the presentation of their evidence,” a resolution issued by the court said.
Ampatuan tried but failed to have hearings on August 15, 28 and 29.
“Happy and excited. Finally, we can wait for the order of the date of promulgation of judgment,” private prosecutor Nena Santos said.
The massacre happened when the wife of then-Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, her sister and other relatives, and 38 journalists were on their way to Shariff Aguak to file the vice mayor’s certificate of candidacy for the gubernatorial race in the 2010 elections. Armed men attacked the victims and buried them alive reportedly on the order of the Ampatuan patriarch, the late Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., and his children.