2 Maguindanao massacre suspects die in jail

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre have died in detention, months before the court handling the multiple murder case is expect to hand down the verdict on the decade-long trial.

Court documents obtained by The STAR showed that suspects Macton Bilungan and Bensedick Alfonso were found dead by their fellow inmates last month inside their respective detention cells at the Quezon City Jail-Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

Bilungan, who had been in detention since the start of the trial in 2010, was found unresponsive by a fellow inmate on Sept. 1. 

He was rushed to the nearby Taguig Pateros District Hospital but was declared dead on arrival, jail warden Jhon Montero informed the court.

The 43-year-old suspect supposedly suffered cardio-pulmonary arrest, his death certificate noted.

Meanwhile, Alfonso was also declared dead on arrival at the Taguig Pateros District Hospital after he was found not breathing and without a pulse by a fellow inmate on Sept. 17.

His death certificate has yet to be submitted to the court by his family, who immediately claimed his body and transported it to Mindanao.

Alfonso was among the police officers tagged in the Nov. 23, 2009 incident.

Four other suspects have previously died in detention: Hernanie Decipulo, Maot Dumla, Moctar Daud and Ampatuan clan patriarch and former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Dozens of suspects have also fallen ill while the trial is ongoing, with at least two – Bahnarin Kamaong and Elizer Rendaje – being brought to hospitals last month for medical purposes.

Earlier this year, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan was also allowed to be brought to the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City  for medical treatment.

Out of the 197 suspects charged with multiple murder in relation to the incident, a total of 117 have been arrested, including those who have died and those whose cases have been dismissed for various reasons.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes is expected to hand down the verdict against those who remain in jail before the incident’s 10th anniversary next month.


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