MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) has granted the request of the judge handling the Maguindanao massacre case for more time to come up with a decision.
Speaking to newsmen Friday, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the court considered the huge volume of evidence and parties in the case in giving a 30-day extension to Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.
"In the case of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyeswe allowed her to have an extension of one month but as I said motions for extension are the exception rather than the rule and we understand her plight and I hope that she will no longer ask for another extension so that before the end of the year those cases will finally be decided," Peralta said.
Under the Constitution, all trial courts should promulgate their decision within the 90-day period after the case has been submitted for decision.
The case has been submitted for decision on August 22 which means the deadline for its promulgation is on November 20, three days before the massacre's 10th anniversary of the gruesome murders.
With the extension, the Quezon City court now has until December 20 to decide the case.
"I am frustrated of what happened to the victims but I think Judge Reyes did her best in order to give justice to the victims and also in order to afford the accused the required due process of law under the constitution," Peralta added.
The attack resulted in the death of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, the single worst peace-time incident involving the killing of newsmen.
Other victims were family members and supporters of the Ampatuan clan's political foe, Esmael Mangudadatu.
Lawyer Nena Santos, one of the private prosecutors in the case, said there is no problem with the extension given by the High Court.
"We have waited for 10 years. The 30 days is a short time to wait," Santos said in a statement. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency