Palace on Maguindanao massacre ruling: Rule of law prevailed

MALACAÑANG on Thursday, December 19, said it respects the court ruling on the Maguindanao massacre case, which convicted eight members of the powerful Ampatuan clan for the killing of 57 people.

The 761-page consolidated partial decision rendered by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes on Thursday also convicted 20 other principal accused and 15 as accessories.

The same ruling acquitted 56 individuals, including four Ampatuan family members.

"The court has spoken and rendered its decision on the basis of the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense. There were verdicts of guilty and acquittal. It behooves the parties to respect them," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

"There are those who view the judgments as justice having prevailed. There are others who have contrary views. Those who disagree with the judgments of the court have legal remedies under disposal. Ultimately, it will be the Supreme Court that will give the final judgment. For now, what is important is that the rule of law has prevailed," he added.

He noted that the Maguindanao massacre marks a dark chapter in recent Philippine history as it "represents merciless disregard for the sacredness of human life, as well as the violent suppression of press freedom."

"This savage affront to human rights should never have a duplication in this country’s history. The incident is one of the factors that prompted the President to anchor his presidency on the preservation and maintenance of law and order in the entire country," Panelo added. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)