MANILA, Philippines – Two days before the court finally issues the verdict on the accused in the most gruesome election-related violence in the country, Malacañang expressed high hopes that finally the court will rule in favor of the victims.
“The court will decide on the basis of evidence and we hope that justice will be given to the parties especially the prosecution,” said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
It was on November 23, 2009 when 58 individuals — 32 of whom were journalists— were killed, some buried alive in a pit in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.
The murder, dubbed as Ampatuan massacre or Maguindanao Massacre, caught the eye of the international community and placed the country as among the dangerous places in the world for journalists.
Ten years after, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 headed by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes will finally issue the verdict on December 19 to over a hundred individuals pinned as suspects in the crime.
Secretary Panelo, a former legal counsel of one of the primary suspects Andal Ampatuan Jr., said regardless of whose administration the crime took place, “justice should always prevail.” – MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)
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