TRIBUTE Artist Nicolas Ace performs at the Press Freedom Monument in Cagayan de Oro onNov. 23 to remember those killed in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao. JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Families of the media workers killed in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre welcomed the pronouncement of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra that the court handling the cases against the alleged perpetrators will convict at least one of the suspects.
Catherine Nuñez, mother of one of the victims of what is now called the Ampatuan massacre, said they would be grateful if Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes would convict one of the principal suspects early next year.
Nuñez’s son, Victor, a UNTV reporter, was among those killed at Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town, in Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009, when armed men fired on media persons and civilians allegedly on orders of the head of the Ampatuan clan, then the most powerful political family in Maguindanao.
“If ever Judge Reyes will convict even just one of the accused, we will welcome it. But she must not stop there. We should expect more convictions,” Nuñez said.
Guevarra was quoted in a news report as saying that the Department of Justice (DOJ) expected “a decision hopefully within the first half of 2019.”
According to Guevarra, the evidence is “very strong” against Andal “Datu Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., one of the main defendants.
Nuñez said Reyes must implement the “first in, first out” ruling of the Supreme Court, where the first to be charged would also be the first to be convicted.
She said this was more practical than the suggestion of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu to convict all the suspects all at once.
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