[Philippines] Three Ampatuan, Maguindanao Massacre Accused Acquitted

Originally published on the CMFR website on 20 July 2017

 

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 dismissed the charges against three accused in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre after the prosecution failed to prove their participation in the crime.

In her nine-page order, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes granted the demurrers to evidence filed by accused Kominie Inggo, Dexson Saptula, and Abas Anongan, who were among the 195 accused in the killing of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists and media workers on 23 November 2009 in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao. A defendant may file a demurrer to evidence if he believes that there is no sufficient evidence against him after the prosecution rested its case.

The court found no evidence that Inggo, Saptula and Anongan directly participated in the murders. According to the court, no prosecution eyewitness saw the three accused at the massacre site or checkpoints, nor at the meeting where the crime was planned.

“It bears stressing that in every criminal prosecution, the identity of the offender, like the crime itself, must be established by proof beyond reasonable doubt,” the court explained.

The trial of the individuals involved in the Ampatuan Massacre has been ongoing since 2010. This is the second time that the QC court dismissed the cases against persons charged in the Ampatuan Massacre. The first was in 2010, when the court dismissed charges against PO1 Johann Draper for lack of probable cause.