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5 years after, Maguindanao Massacre by the numbers

Half a decade since it started, the Maguindanao massacre case proceedings could only show more than a hundred accused being detained, 40 other co-accused allowed to post bail, two state witnesses, heaps of court documents, and zero conviction.

After presenting more than a hundred witnesses – from eye witnesses to government officials and medical experts – the prosecution last March controversially rested its case in the bail hearings for the multiple-murder case.

The move divided the prosecution team – with some members agreeing with the resting while others insisting more crucial witnesses should have been presented first.

Just recently, it was the defense panel's turn to present their witnesses, starting with a daughter of the principal suspect and patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr. Just last Wednesday, the defense presented an airline official and a local administrative official in Maguindanao to prove Andal Sr's son Zaldy's alibi that he was not present during the hatching and carrying out of the killings.

Apart from the father and son Ampatuans, more than 100 of their co-accused remain detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City for what is regarded as the one of the worst election-related violence in Philippine history.

Over the course of five years, authorities have yet to arrest 84 accused. In 2014, the government was able to collar six others.

Private Prosecutor and law professor Harry Roque is confident the cases against some of the accused, particularly the patriarch and his two sons Andal Jr and Rizaldy, will get to be resolved by 2015.

"Tingin ko puwede... Initially kampante ako na puwede na magka-desisyon laban doon sa tatlo. And by 2016, ang aming ginagawa ay sinisigurado na ang iba pang members ng Ampatuan at iyong nagpaputok ay may decision na," Roque said.

Last year, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes said she hopes the Magindanao multiple-murder case trial would get concluded before President Benigno Aquino III in 2016.

Now, the Quezon City judge agrees with Roque that as far as Andal Sr and his sons' cases are concerned, she could come up with a decision as early as 2015.

In Sunday's Asia Journalism Asia Forum in Ortigas, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stressed government efforts, especially that of the judiciary, to end impunity in the country.

"There is a very committed direction to push forward with reforms and specially help end the culture of impunity. We must really put an end to that culture," she said.

"They are quite fast. The reform measures are actually rolling out in a quite fast pace," she added. — LBG, GMA News