PNP: Kin of Maguindanao massacre victims may apply for police protection
MANILA, Philippines — Families of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre victims who were fearful of their security following the acquittal of some of the suspects in the gruesome crime may apply for police protection, the Philippine National Police said Friday.
A total of 56, including Ampatuan scions Datu Sajid Islam and Datu Akmad “Tato,” were acquitted of multiple murders after the court found reasonable doubt in their liabilities. They were ordered released immediately.
This caused the massacre victims’ families to fear for their safety considering that 80 more suspects were also still at large.
But PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac said they can apply for police protection in case they have perceived valid threats.
“Kapag mayroon talagang validated na threat, maaring naman mag-aaply ‘yung pamilya ng permanent security detail through the Police Security Protection Group,” Banac said in a pres briefing.
(If there’s really validated threat, the family can apply for permanent security detail through the Police Security Protection Group.)
PNP, Banac noted, has also ordered local police to provide “special attention” to the victims’ families in conducting their routine patrol.
Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes convicted 43 of the total 101 accused of 57 counts of murder, and acquitted 56 on Thursday, December 19, at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
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.
Thirty-two of the 58 victims were members of the media who had accompanied the filing of the candidacy of then-Maguindanao governor aspirant Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.
But the court, in handing down its judgment, has apparently only recognized 57 victims since the body of 58th victim, photojournalist Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay, has never been found.
Edited by KGA
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