The Nov. 23, 2009 massacre claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 media practitioners.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File
SC extends deadline for Maguindanao massacre ruling
( - November 8, 2019 - 12:18pm

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, 12: 58 p.m.) — The Supreme Court has granted a Quezon City judge’s appeal for more time to rule on the multiple murder cases filed against over 100 suspects tagged in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 21 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes on October 28 sent a letter to the Supreme Court asking for a 30-day extension of the period given to her to rule on the cases.

In a letter dated Thursday, SC’s Office of the Court Administrator said it has found Reyes’ request “reasonable” and granted her appeal.

The Quezon City judge has been given until December 20 to render a verdict. 

The Office of the Court Administrator also directed Reyes to submit a copy of the verdict on the cases within 10 days from promulgation. 

Under existing rules, a judge has 90 days to decide on a case upon the termination of trial. Reyes submitted the case for decision in August and has until November 22 to promulgate a decision. 

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said he understands the judge’s predicament as there are many accused and victims involved in the cases. 

“We understand her plight and I hope that she will no longer ask for another extension so that before the end of the year, those cases will finally be decided,” Peralta said. 

“I am frustrated of what happened to the victims but I think Judge Reyes did her best in order to give justice to the victims and also in order to afford the accused the required due process of law under the Constitution,” he also said. 

A total of 58 people, 32 of them were media workers, were killed in the massacre.
They were on their way to a local Commission on Elections office to witness the filing of the certificate of candidacy for then-Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu when they were flagged and killed by gunmen in Ampatuan town. 

Members of the Ampatuan clan, political rivals of the Mangudadatus, were accused of ordering the killing. 

Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan is the primary suspect in the case. He is one of the 197 suspects initially charged for the massacre. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with a report from Kristine Joy Patag

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