THE Quezon City Regional Trial Court is set to release its decision on the infamous Maguindanao massacre case on December 19.
Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 sent notice of the promulgation to the parties of the case.
The promulgation will be held at the QC Jail Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra expressed hope that Solis-Reyes will dispense justice fairly and with respect for the rule of law.
“I am glad that we have finally reached the day of reckoning. The prosecution has presented nearly 200 witnesses and the defense over a hundred during an intense trial that lasted several years. We thank the judge for her patience and diligence. We trust that she will dispense justice evenhandedly and with utmost respect for the rule of law,” Guevarra said.
Lawyer Nena Santos, counsel of the still grieving families of the victims, welcomed the order.
“We are happy that finally a verdict will be issued by the court. Excited na lahat ng families ng victims na madinig ang hatol ng huwes,” Santos said.
The Maguindanao massacre (or Ampatuan massacre) claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 members of the media, on November 23, 2009.
Members of the Ampatuan clan are facing criminal charges for allegedly masterminding the gruesome killing.
The victims, including the wife of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, were on their way to Shariff Aguak town to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for the May 2010 elections, when a group of armed men stopped the convoy, shot the victims and used a backhoe to bury them while they were still onboard the vehicles.
There were a total of 197 charged with multiple murder, including prime suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr..
Aside from Andal Ampatuan Jr., others accused of the same charges were his father, the late Andal Ampatuan Sr., and his brothers Zaldy and Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan.