MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is hoping to secure a conviction in the Maguindanao massacre case before the end of the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 30, 2016.
However, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima has refused to give a categorical date for the accomplishment of such a target.
The massacre claimed the lives of 58 individuals, including 15 women and 32 media practitioners, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.
De Lima noted that there are 300 witnesses who are set to be presented by the defense, which was allowed by Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.
She said they understand the anxiety of the relatives of the victims and the public about the outcome of the case, but the proceeding of the trial is beyond the control of the DOJ.
De Lima admitted that the case is indeed already taking too long in the sense that it is really very difficult to prosecute as the case involves too many victims, accused and witnesses.