DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Families of media workers expressed their dismay over the 30-day extension on the ruling of the decade-old Ampatuan massacre case.
Emily Lopez, president of Justice Now Movement, said that the families of victims hoped to get the verdict before the 10th year commemoration of the massacre on November 23. The deadline for the promulgation of judgement was originally scheduled in November 20.
“Practically, we are dismayed. For us, there’s too much delay. The justice that we are seeking is already delayed,” Lopez said.
In its November 7 memorandum, Supreme Court administrator Jose Midas Marquez granted the request of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn A. Solis-Reyes for a 30-day extension, or until December 20, to read its decision to the criminal case.
Judge Solis-Reyes sent a letter on October 28, asking the Supreme Court administrator for an extension “due to the voluminous records of these cases”.
The records have reached 238 volumes, including records of proceedings, transcripts and prosecution’s documentary evidence.
Marquez said the Court found the ground for the judge’s request “reasonable”. He, however, reminded that the 30-day extension is non-extendible.
“Ten years is already a long period of waiting, but the families have not given up for we are still expecting to get the justice in this case, and have the suspects be convicted,” Lopez said.
The Ampatuan massacre, where 58 civilians including journalists were killed in 2009, has been considered to be the single deadliest recorded attack on journalists in history.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 2019 Global Impunity Index revealed that the Philippines continues to be one of the countries with most number of unresolved cases of journalist murders in the last 10 years.
The media watchdog said that the country’s ranking is in large part due to the Ampatuan massacre. (davaotoday.com)