QUEZON City Regional Trial Court branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes found top members of the Ampatuan clan guilty of masterminding the 2009 massacre of 57 people, among them 32 journalists, in the country’s worst single instance of election violence.
The following were among the salient provisions of the 761-page partial consolidated decision handed down on Thursday:
The accused held meetings to plan the massacre of the Mangudadatu convoy.
“The timeline proves beyond reasonable doubt that there were gatherings prior to November 23, 2009. The purpose had been laid out in these meetings to not just prevent, but kill all the persons transporting the candidacy papers of Datu Toto Mangudadatu to Shariff Aguak. The methods had also been ascertained: numerous men, firearms, checkpoints, Sanggukos and a backhoe would be used to accomplish the murder objective.’”
The massacre victims were shot at close-range with high-powered firearms in the head, neck, chest, and even genitals. Some of the women were raped before they were killed.
“The autopsy revealed the following: Almost all of the victims sustained multiple gunshot wounds that caused their death. The wounds were ante-mortem, the location of the wounds were in the head, neck, chest region, trunk or abdomen, lower back, extremities, and genitals.”
“Some of the female victims tested positive for the presence of semen. Some victims also experienced ante-mortem wounds like amputation, shrapnel wounds, contusions or hematoma fractures, incision wounds and avulsion.”
Zaldy Ampatuan was convicted even though he did not participate in the actual massacre on November 23, 2009
“While it is admitted that accused Zaldy Ampatuan was not at the locus criminis when the implementation of the plot to kill was finally made, this will not ipso facto exonerate him from criminal liability given that aside from said utterances, he did not only offer to give all his guns but agreed to be assigned in Metro Manila, as possible place for the filing of Datu Toto Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy.
“‘Kung ‘yan na ang final decision natin na patayin silang lahat ay pupunta ako sa Maynila para hindi tayo mahalata at magtawagan na lang tayo.’ In the ordinary context these words heard from the accused would show his agreement and unity with the plans discussed during the meeting. Beyond agreement, the accused gave moving utterances that elicited emotions, responses and further actions from the group. Otherwise, he should have done something to prevent his cohorst specifically Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. and others whose names are mentioned herein from acting in furtherance of their plan.”
Sajid Islam Ampatuan was acquitted despite acknowledgment by Judge Solis-Reyes that he “had prior knowledge of the murder plot but did not at all perform any overt act.”
“The third class of accused – those who had prior knowledge of the murder plot but did not at all perform any overt act. The following accused fall under this category: Datu Akmad Tato Ampatuan and Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan.”