With only two days left before the court announces its verdict on the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case, Malacañang on Tuesday pinned hope that justice will finally be served for the victims of the gruesome crime.“Well the court will decide on the basis of evidence so we hope… Read More
Gov’t exerted all efforts to secure justice
Government lawyers did all they can to give justice to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre case, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Tuesday, two days before the scheduled promulgation of the court’s decision on the case.
“I cannot comment on that because I might preempt the promulgation. I have no idea as to how it will go but what I can say is that the prosecutors presented all that it can. It did its best. That is all I can say,” Guevarra said when asked of the possible decision on the case.
“As to how the judge will appreciate the evidence, I am not sure about that so let’s go through it and see,” he added.
On Tuesday, Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes ordered Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the accused to be sent back to Camp Bagong Diwa from his detention at the Makati Medical Center where he is recuperating following a stroke.
A number of setbacks had plagued the Department of Justice in previous administration’s efforts to prosecute members of the Ampatuan clan for the incident on November 23, 2009, which resulted in the death of 58 individuals, including 32 newsmen.
Then Justice Secretary Alberto Agra, during the Arroyo administration, was roundly criticized for his decision then to drop the charges against two of the Ampatuans implicated in the case.
Barely a year into the proceedings in 2010, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Leo Dacera who led the government’s prosecution team, then 52, died from cardiac arrest.
There have also been reports of millions of pesos in bribes and threats made to prosecutors, victims’ families and witnesses.
A total of 117 people have been arrested including members of the Ampatuan clan. Seven of them died while in detention, including former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. There are still 80 accused who remain at large. (PNA)