Security heightened at Maguindanao massacre promulgation venue
tional Capital Police Office (NCRPO) on Friday said it will tighten security inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City for the promulgation of the decade-long Maguindanao massacre case on December 19.
NCRPO acting director, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, said they will beef up security measures to control those coming in and out of the camp to avoid any untoward incident related to the promulgation at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Jail-Annex inside the facility.
120 members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion in full battle gear to be deployed
“Actually kahapon nagpalit na kami ng details ng mga gwardiya nilagay na namin ang mobile force namin kasi ang build up nyan kung meron mangyayari ngayon palang naguumpisa na yan so sa ngayon pa lang naka-ready na kami. Tinignan na namin likod harap at naglagay na kami ng countermeasure (Actually, yesterday we changed the detailed guards and we have put our mobile force because of the build up. If anything happens now or will start happening, we are ready. We looked back and front and have placed a countermeasure),” Sinas told reporters during the press conference held at Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 10.
He said at least 120 members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion clad in full battle gear were deployed in various facilities, including the entrance and exit points of the camp.
“Iniikutan na rin ang mga barangays lalo na ‘yung mga bahay sa tabi ng gates kasi diba may bakod yun so may mga bahay na katabi so pati yon sinu-survey na at inaalam na sino na mga yon so hindi natin alam mamaya may mga butas na pala yon. So far walanamang mga violations (The barangays are also being monitored, especially the near to the gates Camp because they have fences so there are houses next to it as well as we conducted survey and we know who they are so we don’t know that there will be something worse. So far we don’t see any violations),” he added.
Sinas said they also prepared their civil disturbance unit in case there are protesters during the event.
Sinas said the QCPD has already ensured the security of Quezon City RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes as well as the prosecutors and lawyers involved in the handling of the case.
Sinas said the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) will impose lockdown in the jail facility inside the camp ahead of the promulgation of judgment to avoid any untoward incident.
“Nakausap na namin ang warden sabi naminmag-lockdown muna ng bisita days before yung promulgation na kung pwede wag muna sila tumanggap ng dalaw in preparation para sigurado tayo nawalang incident na mangyari sa (Dec.) 19 (We already talked to the warden to implement a lockdown on guests or visitors of the detainees days before the promulgation as part of preparations to ensure that no incident will occur on Dec. 19),” he said.
Government lawyers earlier asked the court trying the Maguindanao massacre case to order principal accused Zaldy Ampatuan’s return to jail from the Makati hospital where he is presently seeking treatment.
In a letter dated Nov. 19 to Solis-Reyes, Makati City Jail Superintendent Warden Jhon Montero of the Quezon City Jail said Ampatuan remains at a hospital in Makati City less than a month before the deadline of the promulgation of the case.
Montero said Ampatuan had been in the Intensive Care Unit for one week from October 22 to October 29 before he was transferred to a regular room on the afternoon of October 29. The letter noted that Ampatuan is “still confined with continuous physical therapy and occupational therapy for phlegic left arm.”
In November, the Supreme Court (SC) granted Solis-Reyes’ request to be given more time to come up with a decision.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the court has given Solis-Reyes a 30-day extension or until December 20 to promulgate the decision on the case.
The case has been submitted for decision on August 22 which means the deadline for its promulgation should have been on November 20, three days before the massacre’s 10th anniversary on November 23.
The attack resulted in the death of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, the single worst peace-time incident involving the killing of newsmen.
Other victims were family members and supporters of the Ampatuan clan’s political foe, Esmael Mangudadatu. (PNA)