Bishop decries slow pace of trial of accused in Maguindanao massacre
A Roman Catholic bishop on Tuesday called on the Quezon City court handling the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case to render a decision, lamenting that the victims had been denied justice for seven years.
Ozamiz Bishop Martin Jumoad decried the slow pace of justice in the Philippines, which he said worsened the pain of the families of the victims.
“Hope the judge may render a decision now,” he said.
Jumoad’s comments came on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the massacre of 58 people, mostly journalists, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province.
To this day, the court has not rendered a decision on the case of the principal accused, Andal Ampatuan Jr. and members of his clan.
Of the 197 originally accused—15 of whom belong to the Ampatuan clan—114 have been arrested. A total of 112 accused have been arraigned and four, including clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., have died in detention.
Three years ago, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 said she hoped to hand down a decision on the cases of some of the accused by 2016, before the end of the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
Aquino stepped down on June 30, with the court handing down no decision.
A case brief, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, showed that the court has heard 232 witnesses—131 for the prosecution, 43 for the defense, and 58 private complainants.
The court has resolved 12 sets of formal offer of evidence in relation to the bail application of 69 accused.
It has also resolved all bail applications of the accused except the application of Ampatuan Jr.
As of Nov. 15, the court is hearing primary evidence. The prosecution has also filed six sets of formal offers of evidence against 106 accused.
When it will all end is unknown.
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