Palace optimistic of ‘strong’ case vs. Maguindanao massacre suspects

Published September 13, 2018, 3:21 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang is confident about the “strong” case against the suspects behind the gruesome 2009 Maguindanao massacre despite reports some witnesses were being persuaded to recant their testimonies.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said they remain optimistic the court would issue a decision on the case before the end of the year to give justice to the victims.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque  (Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
(Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“Apparently there’s some witnesses against Andal Jr. who have retracted their testimonies,” Roque said during a news conference in Malacañang.

“But I have been assured by the panel of prosecutors that so far, despite the retraction the case against Unsay remains strong,” he added.

Roque said he intends to arrange a meeting between President Duterte and the prosecutors soon to get updates on the progress of the cases.

“This is a public interest case. I’d like to inform the public that I’m arranging a meeting with the panel of prosecutors in the Palace,” he said.

“I would like to invite the President to join us in our meeting so that the President will be apprised by the prosecution team of what’s happening,” he added.

More than a hundred suspects have been charged for the massacre of 58 people including 32 media workers on November 23, 2009. The gunmen allegedly allied with Ampatuan family attacked the convoy carrying family and supporters of then gubernatorial candidate Toto Mangudadatu on their way to file his candidacy.

Mangudadatu reportedly revealed that a former witness was supposedly trying to convince other witnesses to take back their testimonies against the suspects of the massacre.

The President met with the families of the Maguindanao massacre victims last November and promised to help bring the culprits to justice.

Roque admitted that they were saddened that no one has been convicted yet of the massacre several years ago. He said they were hoping the court would issue a partial ruling at least on some of the cases.