Camp Bagong Diwa now on lockdown for Ampatuan massacre verdict
MANILA, Philippines – Camp Bagong Diwa, the headquarters of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is now on lockdown as of 10:30 am, upon the arrival of Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes – the magistrate in charge of the historic Maguindanao massacre trial.
Reyes arrived with a convoy of civilian and police cars from the Quezon City Police District. It is perhaps the most high-stakes day of her life, as she hands down the decision on the so-called trial of the decade, involving a case stemming from a massacre of 58 people, mostly journalists in 2009.
According to NCRPO police chief Brigadier General Debold Sinas, the lockdown involves preventing the entrance of anyone in the camp up until Reyes completes delivering her decision and leaving the premises. (TIMELINE: The long road to justice for Maguindanao massacre victims)
In the morning, journalists noted that the NCRPO checked equipment strictly and even restricted the entry of crew vehicles to further secure their headquarters. Dozens of cops also stood with shields just outside the main gate, poised to fend off any trespassers.
Camp Bagong Diwa is where the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Annex is located. Upon orders of the Supreme Court, it is where hearings on the massacre have been held.
"It's for the protection of our camp so that not anyone could enter," Sinas said.
Sinas said they called on one police company, around 150 cops, to aid in securing the camp during the hearing.
He noted that around a dozen protesters have begun gathering outside the main gate of the camp. Supporters of the suspects, the Ampatuan brothers, were also allowed to gather outside the camp. Meanwhile, supporters of the complainants, the Mangudadatu clan, were given space inside.
The countdown is expected to stretch for hours as a kilometric decision is read involving over a hundred suspects facing over 50 cases each. After 10 years of waiting and grieving, the complainants hope for justice. – Rappler.com