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Maguindanao massacre: Closure finally in sight?

November 22, 2019 - Friday 4:11 AM by MDM

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In the morning of November 23, 2009, 58 people, including 34 media practitioners, were herded like animals along an open field in the municipality of Ampatuan, Maguindanao and gunned down in cold blood. Indications showed some of the women were raped before they too were dispatched with bullets.
 
An excavator, later identified as a property of the Maguindanao provincial government, was used to carve a hole on the ground where the victims were dumped and later covered with earth.
 
A total of 28 people, led by Datu Andal Ampatuan, were subsequently charged for the wanton killings, by far the worst committed against humanity in the Philippines at a time when there was no war. It was also the deadliest assault on Philippine journalists.
If anything, the killings highlighted the kind of people that would hold to power by all means in that part of the country.
 
Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 211 is expected to hand out its promulgation of judgment of the 10-year case this December. It was originally scheduled for November 20.
 
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra expressed confidence of a conviction against the principal accused, namely Andal Ampatuan,Jr. a.k.a. Datu Unsay, Zaldy and Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan.
The supposed mastermind, Andal Sr. succumbed to an ailment in 2015 while on trial.
 
The handing out of the promulgation is expected to bring closure to a case that shook this nation to its core. Hopefully, the primary minds that carried out this crime of monstrous proportions will be meted the punishments they deserve.
 
The closure of the case also strengthens faith on a justice system that may at times grind exceedingly slow but there is no blunting its resolve once it is set on a course.
 
But as to whether or not the promulgation will provide full satisfaction to its victims is another matter. The loss of their loved ones, some snuffed out of their lives in the pink of their health, are losses that will never be replaced.
 

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