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          Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar. (File photo)

          MANILA -- A court decision on the Maguindanao massacre may be out before its 10th anniversary in November, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said Friday.

          "The court has already deemed the case as submitted for decision, and barring unforeseen circumstances, we are hoping for a decision by the third week of November,” Andanar said in a statement.

          The PCOO chief also lauded the PTFoMs and described the upcoming end of the trial as “another addition to President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s legacy.”

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          PTFoMS Executive Director Usec. Joel Sy Egco cited a report from the Department of Justice which showed that "in an Order dated August 22, 2019, the court has already declared the Ampatuan Maguindanao massacre case as deemed submitted for decision."

          Egco also ensured that PTFoMS will ensure that no further delays will stall the proceedings.

          "We will exhaust all means to help guard the sanctity of the judicial process in these crucial times, so that justice may finally be served in these cases", Egco said in a statement.

          On Thursday Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo bared that he met with the Ampatuan family after they were referred to him by the Office of the President (OP).

          Panelo used to be the lawyer of Andal Ampatuan Jr. in 2014 for the trial over the Maguindanao massacre but withdrew the following year.

          He said that the Ampatuan family is asking the President’s intercession but the Chief Executive asked them to wait for the court's decision.

          On November 23, 2009, a total of 58 people, including 32 media personnel, were killed while on their way to cover the filing of the certificate of candidacy of then Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu against Ampatuan Jr. for the 2010 national elections.

          The Palace official was under fire for his supposed involvement in the possible release of convicted rapist-murderer, former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez, who is also his former client.

          Duterte earlier defended Panelo from criticism about entertaining family members of former clients, saying there was nothing wrong since it was all in the past and he now works for the government.

          He insisted that there was nothing wrong with Panelo’s decision to refer a letter from Sanchez’s daughter, Marie Antonelvie, to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP). (PNA)

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