Raps vs dead Maguindanao massacre suspects junked
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Judgment will not longer be handed down against the late former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and other suspects in the Maguindanao massacre case who died in detention.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes has formally dismissed the 58 counts of murder filed against the Ampatuan clan patriarch, who died of liver cancer in 2015.

Also dismissed were the cases against Hernanie Decipulo, who died in 2012; Moktar Daud, who died in 2016; Edgardo Ong, who died in 2017; and Nasser Talib, Macton Bilungan and Bensedick Alfonso, who died this year.

Solis-Reyes, in her four-page resolution dated Oct. 14, cited Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code that extinguishes the criminal liability of suspects if they die before the final judgment.

“A criminal case filed against an accused who dies while the case is still pending resolution shall be terminated. The same is true insofar as civil liability arising from the crime is concerned, if death occurs after arraignment and while the case is still pending trial or on appeal,” read the resolution.

The judge, however, noted that independent civil action from other sources of obligation shall continue or may be instituted thereafter, citing the Rules of Court that allows an independent civil action to be instituted against estate or the legal representative of the deceased respondent.

“The heirs of the accused may be substituted for the deceased without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator and the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor heirs,” read Section 4, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, which tackles the effect of death on civil actions.

“If the accused dies before arraignment, the case shall be dismissed without prejudice to any civil action the offended party may file against the estate of the deceased,” it added.

The Ampatuan clan was accused of masterminding the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre, which claimed the lives of 58 people including 32 media practitioners.

Presently in detention are prominent members of the family, including Ampatuan’s sons former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Jr. and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy.

The court is expected to hand down the verdict before the massacre’s 10th anniversary next month.

 

MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE
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