The Court of Appeals has reversed the acquittal by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court of a police officer in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case as it found the accused guilty as an accessory in the deaths of 57 persons, 32 of them journalists.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr., the High Court convicted as an accessory SPO2 Badawi Bakal, who was sentenced to a prison term ranging from four years and two months to 10 years in each of the 57 counts of murder.
“The evidence adduced against him met the prerequisite quantum of proof of evidence of guilt as an accessory to the crime of murder, in 57 counts, beyond reasonable doubt,” the CA said in its ruling.
The CA granted the appeal filed by the Office of the Solicitor General on the order issued by RTC Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes.
Twenty-eight persons, including the three sons of late former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. — the Ampatuan patriarch — were convicted for the massacre.
Those sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in jail or reclusion perpetua were the late Ampatuan patriarch’s sons – former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan, former Datu Unsay Mayor Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., and former Shariff Aguak Mayor Datu Anwar Ampatuan Sr.
The Ampatuan patriarch was also named principal accused in the case but he died due to liver cancer in July 2015 while confined at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.