MANILA, Philippines – A police officer tagged in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre case has surrendered after more than 10 years of hiding, authorities said Wednesday.
Police Officer Ysmael Baraquir of the Maguindanao Provincial Police Office surrendered to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) regional field unit 15 around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Barangay Linandangan, Pagalungan in Maguindanao.
Police said they took Baraquir into custody based on an arrest warrant for 56 counts of murder signed by Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.
Baraquir is also listed in the national level most wanted persons, according to a report to CIDG acting director Brig. Gene. Joel Napoleon Coronel.
Earlier, two massacre suspects were separately arrested by authorities in Maguindanao after the court released last December 2019 its verdict on the gruesome killing.
On December 19, QC RTC Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes handed down a guilty verdict to several members of the political Ampatuan clan, including former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan Sr., Anwar Ampatuan Jr., and Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, for their involvement in the murder of 57 people, including members of the media.
Originally, there were 58 victims in the massacre but the 58th person, photographer Reynaldo Momay of the local paper Midland Review, was declared missing after his body was not found in the scene.
The Ampatuan massacre is considered the worst election-related violence and attack on press freedom in the Philippines.
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