DOJ seeks to 'protect' Maguindanao massacre victims' claim for damages


Posted at Dec 20 2019 12:34 PM | Updated as of Dec 20 2019 07:22 PM

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The Department of Justice is studying options to "protect" the claim for damages of the relatives of 58 people killed in the Maguindanao massacre, which they cannot receive pending a final decision from the Supreme Court, a prosecutor said Friday.

A special court on Thursday ordered several members of the Ampatuan clan who allegedly orchestrated the slaughter to pay millions of pesos in damages to the victims' families.

The victims however cannot claim this amount until the Supreme Court agrees with the verdict, which could take up to 24 months if contested by the accused, said Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon.

He also noted that it is typical for the accused in other cases to sell or transfer their real estate and other properties so these could not be used to settle the damages.

A preliminary writ of attachment, which prevents one from disposing of properties, is "something we'll have to study", said Fadullon.

"Titingnan po ng prosecution team if there's a way to try and protect na para ma-ensure po natin na hindi mailipat iyong mga properties," he told radio DZMM.

(The prosecution team will see if if there's a way to try and protect and ensure that the properties will not be transferred.)

Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes on Thursday found guilty 43 people, including brothers Zaldy and Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr., 14 police officers and a member of the Ampatuan militia.

Some 53 defendants were acquitted, while 80 accused remain at large.