Maguindanao massacre case submitted for decision
MANILA, Philippines – The Maguindanao massacre case has been submitted for decision 10 years after the gruesome killing of journalists and relatives and supporters of a local politician, a Malacañang official said Friday.
Presidential Task Force for Media Security (PTFoMs) and Undersecretary Joel Egco said the Department of Justice informed his office in a letter on September 3, 2019 about the decision.
“”[I]n an Order dated August 22, 2019, the court has already declared the Ampatuan Maguindanao massacre case as deemed submitted for decision,” Egco said in a statement, quoting Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar also confirmed the decision, saying the government was hopeful a decision would be out before the 10th anniversary of the massacre on November 23 this year.
“The court has already deemed the case as submitted for decision, and barring unforeseen circumstances, we are hoping for a decision by the 3rd week of November,” Andanar said in a statement.
He said “this is another addition to President Duterte’s legacy, that one of the most despicable acts against journalists in the history of the world will finally come to a close during his term.”
“We expect that justice will ultimately prevail for the victims and their families,” he said.
Egco assured the public that the entire PTFoMS would remain vigilant to ensure that there would be no further delays in the case.
“We will exhaust all means to help guard the sanctity of the judicial process in these crucial times, so that justice may finally be served in these cases”, he said.
On November 23, 2009, 58 individuals, including 32 members of the press, were massacred when they joined relatives and supporters of then-Buluan, Maguindanao Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu in a motorcade to the Commission on Elections office to file his certificate of candidacy for governor.
Mangudadatu was not in the convoy. He was eventually elected provincial governor.
Several members of the Ampatuan clan and their henchmen were implicated in the massacre.
The attack was dubbed as worst single-attack on journalists in the world. /gsg
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