Ampatuan massacre convict Datu Unsay appeals verdict
Members of the media take images from footage showing Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes arriving at the court for the Maguindanao massacre hearing, inside the capital command headquarters Manila on December 19, 2019. A Manila court is to hand down its verdict on December 19 on the alleged masterminds of the Philippines' worst political massacre, in a case that highlighted the nation's culture of impunity.
AFP/Francis Malasig/Pool

Ampatuan massacre convict Datu Unsay appeals verdict

Kristine Joy Patag ( - January 2, 2020 - 8:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — Murder convict Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., alias “Unsay, ”appealed the guilty verdict over the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

Court documents showed Andal filed a Notice of Appeal before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 that found him and 27 others guilty over the murder of 57 people on Nov. 23, 2009, later known as the Ampatuan massacre.

“Wherefore it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that this Notice of Appeal be Granted and that accordingly, the entire records be elevated to the Honorable Court of Appeals for review and further proceedings,” the notice read.

This means that Andal is elevating his appeal directly to the Court of Appeals.

A copy of Andal’s motion has yet to be made public.

On Dec. 19, 2019, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes ruled that Unsay, one of the primary suspects—later, convict—is guilty beyond reasonable doubt in the massacre.

She said the prosecutors proved their guilt in the gruesome crime, considered the worst case of election-related violence in Philippine history, as they showed that the killing was planned days before the massacre.

Andal Jr. was considered as first class convicts or those who had prior knowledge of the murder plot and actually fired at the victims.

Part of the ruling read: “The timeline proves beyond reasonable doubt that there were gatherings prior to Nov. 23, 2009. The purpose had been laid out in these meetings: to not just prevent, but kill all the persons transporting the candidacy papers of Datu Toto to Shariff Aguak,” read the decision.

It added: “The method had also been ascertained: numerous men, firearms, checkpoints, Sanggukos and a backhoe would be used to accomplish the murder objective.

Others appeal ruling

Other convicts, Anwar Ampatuan Sr. and sons Anwar Jr. and Anwar Sajid, filed their respective motions for reconsideration before the QC court.

Anwar and his sons pointed out that Reyes relied heavily on the testimony of suspect-turned-state witness Sukarno Badal, whose credibility they questioned before the court.

“It is arduous to believe that the alleged eyewitness could have remembered everything every participant said in those meetings,” Anwar Sr.’s plea read.

The joint motion of Anwar Jr. and Anwar Sajid meanwhile read: “His testimony should not be entitled to full faith and credit.”

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