THE Department of Justice has indicted eight more suspects but dropped the charges against 40 others in the Maguindanao massacre — which is considered to be the most atrocious killing of mediamen in history.
Charged in the second batch of complaints, according to private prosecutor Nena Santos, were members of the private army of the once mighty Ampatuan clan in war-torn Maguindanao.
On the other hand, charges were dropped against 40 individuals for lack of probable cause, the DOJ resolution showed.
“The struggle is far more huge this time around,” Santos said, as she questioned the dropping of charges against the 40 respondents, saying evidence against them was strong.
Last January, the Quezon City regional trial court convicted former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan, and scores of other individuals in connection with the massacre where 58 persons including 32 media workers were killed.
In a 761-page decision, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes sentenced the convicted to reclusion perpetua without benefit of parole for 57 counts of murder.
Apart from Zaldy and Andal Jr., also convicted were Anwar Ampatuan Sr., Anwar “Ipi” Ampatuan Jr., and Anwar Sajid “Ulo” Ampatuan.
Also convicted were Manny, Mohades, and Misuari Ampatuan, several police officers and other personalities.
Furthermore, Reyes required the convicts to indemnify the heirs of the victims a huge amount of money that included legal interests until they were fully paid.
As her basis in convicting them, Reyes said in her decision that the prosecution was able to establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Furthermore, Reyes convicted several individuals as accomplices and sentenced them to a maximum prison term of 10 years.