DOJ chief says Maguindanao massacre verdict ‘more or less’ expected
MANILA, Philippines—While he welcomed the verdict on the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday that the ruling on the celebrated case is “more or less” expected by the prosecution.
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has found Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. and other members of the influential Maguindanao clan guilty of the murder of 57 people.
However, Sajid Islam Ampatuan, Datu Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan Sr. and two other members of the family were acquitted.
“Today is the day we have waited and I am very happy as Secretary of Justice that finally justice has been served,” Guevarra told reporters.
“We of course know that the principal accused here has been convicted but some of the accused have been acquitted. This is something that the prosecution has more or less anticipated. We know from the beginning where our strength lies and where certain gaps in our evidence exist so this is something more or less expected,” he added.
Nonetheless, the Justice Secretary added they are “happy with the decision of the court.”
“We trust that the judge has very extensively examined the evidence and we trust in her impartiality in her rendition of this very important judgment,” he said.
Guevarra thanked the prosecutors as well as the private counsels who are involved in the case for the “tireless effort they exerted in making sure that judgment will finally come and the deaths of so many victims including members of the journalism profession will find their day of redemption.”
“So again congratulations to the prosecution and we are very happy that today we have seen that justice has been served,’ he added.
The Maguindanao massacre has been tagged as the world’s deadliest single attack on media workers, and the worst case of election-related violence in the country.
Originally there were 58 victims in the massacre but the 58th victim in the November 23, 2009 massacre, Reynaldo Momay, a photographer of the local paper Midland Review, was declared missing after the 57 bodies, including those 31 other journalists, were discovered in the scene.
The murdered journalists had accompanied the filing of candidacy of then-Maguindanao governor aspirant Esmael Mangudadatu.
Edited by MUF
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