TIMELINE: The Maguindanao Massacre Case - The Most Popular Lists


TIMELINE: The Maguindanao Massacre Case

The crime that was dubbed as the worst case of election-related violence and single deadliest event for journalists in the country will finally see judgment day after 10 years when the lower court hands down its verdict Thursday, December 19, 2019.

READ: Maguindanao Massacre: How the Ampatuans allegedly killed 58 people

Unsay, Zaldy and Sajid—members of the Ampatuan political dynasty clan and alleged mastermind—will face the verdict of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court over the gruesome killing of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in 2009.

The Ampatuans are the political rivals of the Mangudadatus.  Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu,  vice mayor of Buluan town at the time, was set to run against the son of then-governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., in the 2010 gubernatorial race in Maguindanao.

November 23, 2009

A convoy of seven vehicles with journalists, lawyers, and relatives of Mangudadatu leaves Buluan in the morning as his wife would file his Certificate of Candidacy at the Commission on Elections provincial office in Maguindanao's capital Shariff Aguak.

Mangudadatu’s wife and supporters are reportedly abducted by around one hundred armed men who accosted their vehicles at a checkpoint in Sitio Malating, Ampatuan town.

Army troops respond to the area where they saw more than two-dozen victims and their vehicles, as well as a backhoe that was used in digging graves. They managed to arrest two armed men but due to jurisdiction issues, they turned them over to government authorities and were eventually released.

Aside from the victims who were found lying dead, the troops discovered three mass graves where more victims together with their vehicles were buried five to twelve feet below the ground.  Using a backhoe, authorities unearthed the bodies of the victims clawing them underneath the soil. Thirty-five more bloodied corpses were recovered in the crime scene.

Fifty-seven was the total number of fatalities.

November 24, 2009

Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces, as well as Cotabato City, were placed under a state of emergency in the wake of the gruesome massacre. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued the order to prevent violence from escalating in the southwestern Mindanao.

November 26, 2009

Three days after the massacre, primary suspect Unsay surrendered to authorities, awaiting formal murder charges in General Santos City. Upon his arrival by helicopter at General Santos City airport, he is briefly interviewed by GMA News and denied his involvement in the massacre.

“Wala pong katotohanan 'yan madame, wala pong katotohanan 'yan. Kaya po ako lumabas, para patunayan na ‘di ako nagtatago at ‘di po ako guilty."

December 1, 2009

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed 25 counts of murder against detained Unsay before a Cotabato City court for being the primary suspect of the Maguindanao massacre.

December 3, 2009

Cache of light artillery and heavy infantry weapons, including commando weapons, explosives, ammunition, and military uniforms were unearthed by government troops from a vacant lot near the mansion of the Maguindanao-based Ampatuan clan in Shariff Aguak.

December 5, 2009

Arroyo places Maguindanao under a state of martial law in the wake of the massacre. MalacaΓ±ang suspends the writ of habeas corpus in the province except "for certain areas," enabling the military to make arrests without court intervention.

This constitutes the first declaration of martial law in the Philippines since 1972, when then-president Ferdinand Marcos imposed military rule over the entire country.

December 8, 2009

From the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato City, the Maguindanao massacre case was transferred to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City after the Supreme Court allowed the request of acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera considering the safety of witnesses.

January 5, 2009

During Unsay’s arraignment at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Unsay pleaded not guilty to the murder charges lodged against him for allegedly masterminding the November 23 massacre.

February 9, 2010

DOJ recommended the filing of 57 counts of murder against Andal Ampatuan Sr. and 197 others including more members of the Ampatuan clan as well as soldiers and policemen.

Aside from Andal Sr., also recommended to be charged with multiple murder are his sons Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, and Maguindanao Gov. Sajid Ampatuan, as well as 11 other members from the powerful clan.

Sixty-two policemen and four soldiers were included in the list of respondents.

March 10, 2010

Families of the 13 slain journalists filed administrative complaints that sought the police officers' dismissal for grave misconduct.

June 14, 2010

The self-confessed gunman and potential witness for the Maguindano massacre case who used the pseudonym “Jessie” was killed by unidentified assailants.

June 1, 2011

Ampatuan Sr. also pleaded not guilty to 57 counts of murder in relation to the 2009 killing. He entered his plea before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 in Taguig City.

June 14, 2011

The Supreme Court granted petitions seeking live media coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial. Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales wrote in a 15-page resolution:

"…The Court cannot gloss over what advances technology has to offer in distilling the abstract discussion of key constitutional precepts into the workable context...”

“Law and technology can work to the advantage and furtherance of the various rights herein involved, within the contours of defined guidelines."

July 29, 2011

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court denied the prosecution's request to turn suspects Mohammad Sangki, Rex Ariel Diongon and Ranier Ebus into state witnesses, saying their testimonies were "merely corroborative" and not "absolutely necessary" in the high-profile case.

READ: Who is Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, the judge who took on the Maguindanao Massacre case?

June 28, 2012

Another prospective prosecution witness was killed. Maguindanao massacre case Prosecutor Nena Santos announced 36-year old Menjie Nangulamas Ubpon has been shot by a riding-in-tandem in a public market in February.

Santos said the prosecution believes Ubpon was the same person as Alijol Ampatuan, one of the prospective witnesses they were planning to present in court.

September 24, 2012

It was reported that the 58th information for the case of murder has been filed in court against the suspects in the Maguindanao massacre.  The additional information was for the 58th victim Reynaldo Momay, a photojournalist from the Tacurong-based newspaper Midland Review, whose body has yet to be found.

October 23, 2012

Reversing a June 2011 ruling, the Supreme Court barred live media coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial.

December 12, 2012

Zaldy entered his not guilty plea to the 58 counts of murder filed against him during his arraignment. Private prosecutor and Mangudadatu counsel Nena Santos said she was "happy" that Zaldy was finally arraigned three years after the massacre.

December 10, 2013

The SC issued new guidelines to speed up the four-year-old Maguindanao massacre trial including use of judicial affidavits and assignment of assisting judge.

In its resolution, the SC said it “authorizes the Presiding judge and the assisting Judge... in their discretion, to resolve petitions, incidents and motions filed before the trial court, despite the pendency of some of these matters in the higher courts.”

June 30, 2014

After almost five years of handling one of the Philippines' sensational cases, defense lawyers for a number of accused in the Maguindanao massacre trials have withdrawn.

In manifestation to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 dated June 30, members of the defense team led by Sigfrid Fortun have withdrawn as lawyers for principal suspects including clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., his son Unsay and 22 other accused .

October 13, 2014

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes granted policemen-suspects' petition for temporary freedom by setting set the bail at P200,000 each for each count of murder filed against them.

November 12, 2014

The Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the Quezon City Court denying a request to convert three suspects in Maguindanao namely Mohammad Sangki, Rex Ariel Diongon and Ranier Ebus into state witnesses.

November 18, 2014

Another witness in the Maguindanao massacre case was killed. Less than a week before the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the massacre, Dennis Sakal, who is said to be a former driver of Unsay, was ambushed in a remote village in Shariff Aguak.

Sakal would have turned witness against the Ampatuans if he was able to sign an affidavit about Unsay’s involvement in the crime.

March 9, 2015

Sajid has been temporarily released from jail after posting a surety bond of P11.6 million. Judge Solis-Reyes, who ordered his release, said the mere presence of Sajid during the meetings does not "ipso facto translate to a conclusion of a strong evidence of guilt.

The judge also said the prosecution failed to state any legal basis on its claim that silence, during the conduct of a meeting of a conspiracy, already means assent to the commission of the crime.

April 22, 2015

Ampatuan Sr.’s bail plea has been denied by Judge Solis-Reyes. According to the judge, the evidence of guilt of Ampatuan Sr. is strong.

“As an important note, however, the ruling of the court is not in judgment of guilt or innocence of the accused which requires proof beyond reasonable doubt which is addressed during a full-blown trial," she added.

July 17, 2015

Ampatuan Sr. passed away. The 74-year-old went into coma after suffering a heart attack while battling advanced stage liver cancer.

September 2015

Zaldy’s petition for bail has been denied by Judge Solis-Reyes.

November 24, 2015

Twenty-one policemen have been dismissed from service while 11 others were suspended after National Police Commission’s investigation found substantial evidence pointing to their alleged involvement in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre.


The defense started presenting evidence, the Supreme Court said

January 30, 2017

The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of a Quezon City court allowing the temporary release of the son of the late Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.

In a decision dated January 30, the CA 16th Division denied the government's plea to reverse the order issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes in favor of Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan.

The CA said Solis-Reyes "did not act in a whimsical, arbitrary, and capricious manner" when she granted the bail petition of Datu Sajid.

April 18, 2018

The CA affirmed the orders of a Quezon City court denying Zaldy’s petitions for bail in connection with his involvement in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

It turned down his bid to annul and set aside the September and November 2015 orders of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City RTC's Branch 221 junking Zaldy’s attempt.

June 19, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government prosecutors to push for partial resolution of the cases in connection with the Maguindanao massacre trial.

August 21, 2018

Zaldy was given permission from Quezon City court to leave his cell for a few hours to attend his daughter's wedding.

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court's Branch 221, "for humanitarian considerations," granted Ampatuan's motion for furlough in view of what it called a "momentous" event.

September 13, 2018

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he was arranging a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and Department of Justice prosecutors amid reports of supposed efforts by some quarters for witnesses to recant their testimonies against members of the Ampatuan clan.

November 11, 2018

It was reported that Unsay filed his formal offer of evidence in connection with the case.

Among the pieces of evidence submitted to the Quezon City court was the minutes of a meeting held in the municipal hall of Datu Unsay on November 23, 2009—the day when the Maguindanao massacre was committed.

The former mayor's camp claimed that he attended the meeting from 8 a.m. until 12:30 in the afternoon, eliminating the chances of his presence at the massacre.

May 13, 2019

Sajid wins as mayor of Shariff Saydona Mustapha town in Maguindanao.

June 28, 2019

It is reported that the Quezon City court allows Zaldy to be transferred to the Philippine Heart Center after being diagnosed with heart-related concerns.

July 17, 2019

More than nine years after it started, trial of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre multiple murder case was finally completed.

READ: Bong Go demands justice for victims of Maguindanao massacre

November 8, 2019

The Supreme Court gave the Quezon City judge in charge of the Maguindanao massacre trial 30 more days to resolve the multiple murder cases.

She was supposed to have only until November 20 to promulgate a judgment but requested a deadline extension due to the "voluminous" case records consisting of 238 volumes.

December 10, 2019

The SC allowed live media coverage of the reading of the verdict on the Maguindanao massacre case on December 19 after several news outfits, journalists’ organizations and government communications agencies made request.

December 17, 2019

Days before the promulgation, the Quezon City court ordered jail authorities to return Zaldy to his detention cell in Camp Bagong Diwa after more than 40 days of staying at the Makati Medical Center for his treatment after suffering stroke.

December 19, 2019

Ten years after the gruesome murder of 58 people atop a hill in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on November 23, 2009, Judge Solis-Reyes will be handing down the verdict on the suspects in the worst case of election-related violence in the Philippines and one of the deadliest single attack on journalists in history. — LDF, GMA News

JUST IN: Ampatuan brothers convicted, sentenced to life imprisonment

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This article first appeared on GMA News via MSN.

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