DOJ indicts 8 out of 48 individuals in 2nd wave of Ampatuan massacre cases
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted eight out of 48 individuals in the second batch of Maguindanao massacre complaints.
A DOJ resolution signed in August 2019, which was released Monday, showed that only eight persons were indicted for attending meetings, planning the killings, and participating in the murder of 58 people in November 2009.
Seven of the indicted are part of Ampatuan private army while one is a policeman.
The following individuals were charged before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221:
1. Datu Morning Ampatuan Asim
2. Datu Harris Ampatuan Macapendeng
3. Dali Kamendan aka Kumander Boy
4. Mautin Upam
5. Rene Upam
6. Datu Diego “Digo” Mamalapat
7. Daud Kamendan aka Kumander Kuatro
8. A certain”Biton” from the Philippine National Police.
Prosecutors meanwhile found no probable cause to charge 40 individuals mentioned in the complaint. Their cases were dismissed due to lack of evidence supporting claims that they have attended, planned, or participated in the said killings.
“While it was alleged that some of the respondents indeed attended the meetings and concurred with the plan to kill the Mangundadatus, the evidence so far sufficiently established by herein complaints point only to respondents Morning Ampatuan Asim, Harris Ampatuan Macapendeng, Dali Kamendan aka Kumander Boy, Mautin Upam, Digo Mamalapat, Daud Kamendan aka Kumander Kuatro, as among those who attended the meetings and participated in the shooting of the victims on that fateful day in November 2009,” the resolution stated.
“To reiterate, mere presence at the scene of the crime does not automatically make one liable for it, much less presence in the place or meeting where the crime was allegedly planned,” the DOJ further stated.
The resolution was signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay, Mary Jane Sytat, Jovyanne Stanta Maria, Loverhette Jeffrey Villordon and approved by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.
Atty. Nena Santos, lawyer of the affected victims’ families, said she received the resolution only on October 27, 2020 — almost one year after the resolution was signed.
“Parang feeling ko hindi na natin kakampi [ang DOJ]. Parang pinagbigyan lang ako sa walo tapos inalis yung 40. Sa testimony ng mga witnesses pwede na silang ma-convict,” Santos said in an online forum.
(I feel like DOJ is no longer on our side. It’s like they gave me the eight but dismissed the 40 when they can be convicted based on testimony of witnesses.)
“This second batch is another [case of] impunity. Hindi pa nga natin nahuhuli ang 76 na at large,” she added.
(This second batch is another case of impunity. We have yet to capture the 76 people who are at large.)
The Maguindanao Massacre is known as the worst single day murder of journalists and the worst election-related violence in the country.
“The fight is not yet over,” Santos emphasized.