MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – After 10 years, the Ampatuan brothers were found guilty of murdering 57 people.
Ampatuan brothers Datu Andal Jr, Zaldy, and Anwar Sr were convicted of 57 counts of murder in the gory massacre of 2009, a verdict that will reverberate across sectors in what has been called the trial of the decade. Their other brother Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan was acquitted.
Other Ampatuan clan members, nephews Anwar Jr and Anwar Sajid, were also convicted.
Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes handed her most-awaited judgment on Thursday, December 19, sentencing to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years in jail the Ampatuan brothers without parole.
This was for the massacre of 58 people on November 23, 2009, where 32 who died were journalists.
Because of 10 years in jail while on trial, Datu Andal Jr and Zaldy Ampatuan will serve 30 years out of their 40 years. For those 30 years, they will be eligible for Good Conduct Time Allowance, subject to recent revisions on heinous crime, former Supreme Court spokesman and lawyer Theodore Te said.
In the Ampatuan massacre case, 28 were convicted of 57 counts of murder and sentenced to 40 years, 15 were sentenced to 6-10 years for being accessories to crime, while 55 were acquitted.
The historic judgment was handed down in a tightly-secured courtroom inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
The 58 people were part of a convoy that sought to file the certificate of candidacy of then- Maguindanao governor aspirant Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu. It is said to be the deadliest attack on journalists in the world, and the worst election-related violence in Philippine history.
State witnesses, a politician previously allied with the ruling Ampatuan clan, and a househelp, testified to seeing the brothers participate in successive meetings that planned the massacre. Datu Andal Jr, alias Unsay, was pinpointed as the gunman. – Rappler.com