78 Filipino massacre suspects face charges over 58th victim

Julie M. Aurelio in Manila/Philippine Daily Inquirer
A relative of one of the November 2009 massacre victims, seen near the photos of the victims, on November 23, 2010
This file photo shows a relative of one of the 57 victims of the November 23, 2009 massacre crying as she touches a collage of photos of the victims during a memorial service at the massacre site in Ampatuan, Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao, on November 23, 2010. The killing was the country's worst political massacre

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - A Quezon City court hearing the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case has ordered the arraignment of 78 suspects for the 58th murder case filed recently on behalf of a slain photojournalist whose remains were never recovered.

Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of QC Regional Trial Court Branch 221 ruled that there was probable cause to continue with the case for the murder of photojournalist Reynaldo "Bebot" Momay.

The court set the arraignment of Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, and 76 others on Wednesday at the Quezon City Jail Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

The court, however, deferred the arraignment of former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. and five other Ampatuan family members who still have unresolved motions.

Last year, the Department of Justice found probable cause to file the 58th murder count for Momay, who was among the victims of the Nov. 23, 2009, Maguindanao massacre who included 32 journalists.

The body of Momay, a photojournalist for the Midland Review, was never found after the carnage although a forensic team recovered parts of his dentures.

In the same five-page order, Reyes also dismissed the 58th murder case filed against PO1 Johann Draper, who was released from detention after the court dropped the original 57 cases against him for lack of merit.

The court also issued new arrest warrants for 92 suspects still at large.