Maguindanao massacre trial reopened
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City court handling the murder cases filed in connection with the Maguindanao massacre has reopened the decade-long trial following the recent arrest of two more suspects. 

Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes ordered the cases revived after Kagi Faizal and Gambayan Kasim were brought to court last week. 

Faizal and Kasim are scheduled to be arraigned today on murder charges in connection with the Nov. 23, 2009 carnage.

Once arraigned, the suspects will undergo trial, starting with the prosecution presenting evidence against them. 

Solis-Reyes had ordered the cases against those who were still at large to be archived following the promulgation of judgment against over 100 suspects last month. 

Based on police records, Faizal was apprehended on Jan. 6 in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Kasim was nabbed three days later in Sharif Aguak town.

The two were among the 80 suspects who were unaccounted for when the court issued its verdict in December.

Solis-Reyes ordered the transfer of the suspects at the Quezon City Jail Annex at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

In a 761-page decision, the judge convicted 28 accused – including five members of the Ampatuan clan – of 57 counts of murder. 

Fifteen others were found guilty of a lesser accessory to the crime of murder. Fifty-six suspects were acquitted. 

Sandigan junks Ampatuan’s plea

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan has dismissed the motion of convicted murderer Andal Ampatuan Jr. to dismiss his graft case in connection with the allegedly anomalous fuel supply of the Maguindanao provincial government when his late father, Andal Ampatuan Sr., was governor from 2001 to 2008.

In a resolution dated Dec. 16 but obtained by reporters only yesterday, the anti-graft court’s Sixth Division found no merit in Ampatuan’s argument that he should not have been included in the complaint as his name was not mentioned in the dispositive portion as among the respondents.

The cases involved 21 counts of graft over the provincial government’s purchase of fuel and lubricants amounting to P238.3 million from Ampatuan’s gasoline station.

Ampatuan and his brother Zaldy were sentenced to life in prison without parole for the massacre. – With Elizabeth Marcelo

MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE
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