CA affirms bail for 16 cops linked to Maguindanao massacre

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld a local court's decision to allow bail for 16 policemen allegedly involved in the Maguindanao massacre, which left 58 people dead in November 2009.

In a 3-page ruling, the CA's Former 10th Division affirmed the order by Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 which first granted the cops bail in October 2014.

The Quezon City RTC had granted the cops' petition for bail after finding that the prosecution had insufficient evidence to link the cops to the massacre, known as the worst case of election-related violence in the Philippines. (READ: What has happened to the Maguindanao massacre trial 8 years later?)

The CA, in its ruling, noted that the prosecution failed to add more evidence to prove otherwise.

"[T]he Court is convinced that no new and legitimate ground was raised to reverse or set aside the Court's earlier finding," the CA said.

In arguing against the policemen's bail, prosecutors had claimed that the Quezon City RTC committed grave abuse of discretion and ruled beyond its jurisdiction.

The prosecution linked the 16 cops to the massacre as they apparently guarded the checkpoints leading to the crime scene. (TIMELINE: The long road to justice for Maguindanao massacre victims)

The Quezon City RTC and CA, however, found that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to back this claim.

The CA decision was penned by Associate Justice Jhosep Lopez, with concurrences from Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan and Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr. – Rappler.com