Maguindanao massacre: Acquitted cops seek back wages, benefits
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 28 police officers acquitted in the Maguindanao massacre case are seeking almost a decade’s worth of back wages and other benefits that they did not receive while they were in detention. 

In a two-page motion, public attorney Amando Cura asked the Quezon City Court that handled the trial to issue an order directing the payment of back wages to the acquitted police officers.

“It is not just and fair to issue such an order because it is required under the law and ruled that an accused should be in custody while the latter’s case is being heard,” read the motion. 

“Because of such situation, it was beyond the control of the foregoing accused why they were not able to report for duties from the time they were arrested up to the time they were found innocent,” it added. 

Cura also noted that the administrative cases filed against some of the police officers before the National Police Commission have also been dismissed.  

The request covers members of the so-called Labayan and Solano groups, who were acquitted of multiple murder after the prosecution failed to present evidence proving their participation in the massacre.

Based on court records, members of the Labayan group include police officers George Labayan, Elizer Rendaje, Alimola Guianaton, Samad Maguindra, Ricky Balanueco, Gibrael Alano, Rexson Guiama, Amid Solaiman, Badjun Panegas, Pendatun Dima, Ebara Bebot, Tamano Hadi and Michael Macarongon. 

The Solano group is composed of police officers Ali Solano, Felix Daquilos, Kendatu Rakim, Abdulraman Batarasa, Marjul Jukaldi, Datu Jerry Utto, Mohammad Balading, Marsman Nilong, Abdulbayan Mundas, Abdulmanan Saavedra and Jimmy Kadtong. 

The motion filed by Cura also included police officer Oscar Donato, while acquitted cops Ahmad Badal, Tanny Dalgan and Anwar Masukat attended the hearing the matter last Friday. 

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes gave the prosecution panel 15 days to comment on the motion. 

In her 761-page decision promulgated last month, the judge ruled that the police officers were innocent as they were neither aware of the murder plot nor have been identified as among those in the crime scene. 

The cops were charged in connection with the massacre as they were supposedly manning some of the check points near the crime scene when the incident happened. 

The judge noted the lack of evidence proving that they were aware that the convoy that passed their checkpoints were that of the victims following their abduction. 

“It stands to reason therefore, that while they may have heard the burst of gunfires after said convoy had passed, their failure to report the same or respond thereto, should not be taken against them, given that burst of gunfires is considered a normal occurrence in their place, the peace and order situation being one of the major problems therein since time immemorial,” read the decision. 

Most of the acquitted policemen were arrested on March 2010, or four months after the Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre. 

Some of them were able to post bail in 2015. 

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