CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Dec) – There was euphoria among the families as the Quezon City Regional Trial Court handed down the guilty beyond reasonable doubt verdict for the 57 victims of the Ampatuan massacre.
“I thank God for hearing our prayers,” Cathy Nuñez, mother of UNTV reporter Victor Nuñez, told MindaNews in a telephone interview.
Nuñez joined other relatives of victims of the Ampatuan massacre in Camp Bagong Diwa to listen to the verdict, and to rejoice afterwards.
Nuñez said she had waited for this moment for the last 10 years ever since she saw the mangled body of her son at a funeral parlor in Koronadal City.
She said she was satisfied of the decision handed down by Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.
“I never expected it to be a hundred percent conviction rate but I am satisfied the real killers were found guilty,” Nuñez said.
“I think most of the families also accepted the decision. Those who planned and decided to kill should be punished,” she added.
A total of 28 people were convicted for the worst crime against journalists but the court found 55 people not guilty and ordered them to be released.
Judge Reyes, reading only the dispositive portion of the 761-page document, sentenced 28 people to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment without parole.
Reyes found Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. and former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Also convicted were Datu Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, Datu Anwar Ampatuan and 19 others, including Major Sukarno Dicay, commander of the 15th PNP Regional Mobile Group; Col. Abusama Mundas Maguid, officer-in-charge of the Maguindanao police; and Supt. Bahnarin Kamaong.
Reyes said these persons are guilty for 57 counts of murder—each for every victim of the massacre. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)