By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has expressed preference that the Quezon City court releases as soon as possible its verdict over the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
Guevarra made this point after Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes asked the Supreme Court (SC) for more time in making a ruling on the case.
“Regarding the alleged request of Judge Solis-Reyes for extension of time to resolve the Maguindanao massacre case, we shall leave this matter to the sound discretion of the Supreme Court,” the Secretary said Thursday, Nov. 7.
“But we really hope that the good judge would be able to promulgate her decision sooner than later,” he stressed.
After the conclusion of the trial, the case was submitted for decision last August 22.
Under the guidelines, the court is given 90 days to decide following the termination of the trial.
Earlier, Guevarra said he expected the decision to come out in time for the 10th anniversary of the massacre on November 23.
On November 23, 2009, 58 persons were killed including 32 journalists in Barangay Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
Those killed were part of a convoy accompanying the group of then Buluan town Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu who was on his way to register his name for the 2010 gubernatorial election.
There are 197 accused in the case including members of the Ampatuan clan namely, detained former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and his brother, former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan.
Their father, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., was also among those accused in the case, but has already passed away while in detention.