The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yesterday that the multiple murder cases against Andal “Datu Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. and other accused have been submitted for resolution by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221.
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Multiple murder case vs Ampatuan submitted for resolution
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The quest for justice in the gruesome massacre of 58 persons – including 32 journalists – on Nov. 23, 2009 in Maguindanao is nearing conclusion.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yesterday that the multiple murder cases against Andal “Datu Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. and other accused have been submitted for resolution by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221.

“Per information from our prosecution panel, the case against Unsay is now submitted for decision upon ruling of the court on his formal offer of exhibits,” acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon revealed in a text message.

Fadullon, chief of the DOJ’s prosecutorial arm, said RTC Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes is expected to set the promulgation of the case where she would decide whether to convict or acquit Ampatuan.

“The court has yet to set the date of promulgation, which will cover Unsay and all other accused – except those who were belatedly arrested,” the DOJ official added.

The massacre, which gained global attention for its record as the highest number of journalists killed in a single incident, will mark its ninth anniversary this Friday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said they expect the RTC to decide on the case in the first quarter next year.

Guevarra expressed confidence that the prosecution presented strong evidence to establish the guilt of Ampatuan and other principal accused.

Before the RTC concluded recently the hearings on the cases, one of the witnesses – Thonti Lawani – recanted his testimony on Ampatuan’s involvement in the massacre.

Lawani recanted his earlier testimony that he saw Ampatuan giving orders to his commanders at a crossing in Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan town, and that he also saw the convoy of vehicles going toward the hilly portion of the area where the massacre happened.

In his 10-page affidavit submitted to the court last September, the witness took back his testimony and claimed that he was pressured by the family of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu to testify against Ampatuan.

But Guevarra stressed that such recantation would barely have an impact on the case.

AMPATUAN MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE MULTIPLE MURDER
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