MANILA, Philippines – If the accused are convicted, each Ampatuan massacre victim could receive as much as P20 million in civil damages, prosecution lawyers said on Wednesday, December 18. (READ: Did prosecution do enough? Ampatuan massacre verdict out today)
Harry Roque, who is a lawyer for some of the families of the victims, said in an Inquirer report on Thursday, December 19, that he asked the court to order the accused to pay that amount to help the families cope with their loss. (READ: Children bear the brunt 10 years since Ampatuan massacre)
Law professor Ted Te, however, explained in an interview on ANC also on Thursday that under the law, those found guilty of taking a life would be required to pay only P50,000 in damages. (WATCH: Trial of the decade: Highlights of Ampatuan massacre case)
Te said the prosecution’s lawyers would have to prove their case in terms of consequential damages in order for the victims’ families to receive P20 million each. (TIMELINE: The long road to justice for Maguindanao massacre victims)
“They would go into earning capacity, what had been lost,” Te said. “If the person who was killed was the breadwinner or if the person that was killed was a young enough person that would have gone on to a lucrative profession, would this person have earned this much if he or she lived this long? So it goes into all of those items, the judge must make an appreciation of the private prosecution presented for each one.”
Te predicted that this may take some time during the reading of the verdict on December 19, as the judge must explain why each of the convicted must pay a certain amount.
If found guilty, each of the accused could also face up to 40 years in prison. Those who have been in preventive detention for the past 10 years could face only 30 years.
The 2009 Ampatuan massacre, known to be the deadliest attack on media in the world, killed 58 people, 32 of whom were journalists. – Rappler.com
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