What Went Before: Maguindanao massacre

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On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 people, including the wife of then Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu and 32 media workers, were killed by members of the Ampatuan clan in Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan in Maguindanao.

The group was on its way to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for governor in the May 2010 elections when it was ambushed. Many of the victims were shot in the head, while some were buried along with three vehicles. It has been dubbed the world’s single worst attack on the press.

Murder charges were filed against 197 people, including former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., in Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221. The trial opened in August 2010. Of the accused, 105 have been arrested and 96 arraigned.

While 57 bodies were found, the 58th victim, photojournalist Reynaldo Momay of community paper Midland Review, was formally recognized as among the massacre victims in September 2012.

In May, President Aquino reiterated his call for the speedy resolution of the case and ordered state prosecutors to “oppose dilatory tactics being employed by the alleged masterminds” of the massacre and ensure conviction before his term ends in 2016.—Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives

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