What went before
Almost a decade since the beginning of the single deadliest attack against journalists and the worst election-related violence, the Maguindanao massacre case was finally submitted for a resolution last Aug. 22.
The decision was initially expected this November, as the court had 90 days to set the promulgation of the case after its submission for resolution, under Administrative Circular No. 3-99.
10 years since the massacre
But on Nov. 7, the Supreme Court gave Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes a one-month extension to resolve the case after she requested for a 90-day extension to review the records that still needed to be studied.
On Nov. 23, it will be 10 years since the massacre.
The massacre on the morning of Nov. 23, 2009, involved a group of media workers who had accompanied the family of Esmael Mangudadatu, a rival of the Ampatuan clan, to witness the filing of his election papers for the 2010 gubernatorial election in Maguindanao.
The convoy was on its way to Shariff Aguak to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy when it was flagged down by some 100 armed men identified with the Ampatuans.
The victims, which included Mangudadatu’s wife, were killed in Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan, in Maguindanao. Some were buried along with their vehicles, while others were shot in the head.
Of the 58 victims, 33 were media workers, including photojournalist Reynaldo Momay, who was later recognized as the 58th victim, although his body was never recovered.
Government employee Eduardo Lechonsito was on his way to Cotabato City for a medical checkup when his car was also stopped at the checkpoint. He and his wife Cecille and three others in the vehicle were also among those killed.
Nearly 200 people, including the late former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his son, Andal Jr. were charged with multiple murder.
The Maguindanao massacre trial started on Sept. 8, 2010.
‘Kill them all’
During the first hearing, government witness and the Ampatuans’ personal aide Lakmodin Saliao directly linked Andal Jr. to the massacre carried out allegedly on the orders of his father.
He testified that the clan planned the massacre over dinner and that Ampatuan Sr. gave the order to “kill them all,” referring to the people in the convoy.
In July 2015, patriarch Ampatuan Sr., principal accused in the massacre and who battled liver cancer in detention, died of a heart attack at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.—INQUIRER RESEARCH AND INQUIRER
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