Timeline for the case development of the Maguindanao Massacre
Nov. 23 – While on their way to file a certificate of candidacy on behalf of Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, his wife and sisters, together with journalists and lawyers were shot and mutilated by a group of armed men. Former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., a known ally of the administration, was named suspect to the crime.
Nov. 24 – Gloria Arroyo placed the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City under a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the International Federation of Journalists declared the Philippines as “the most dangerous place in the world for media workers.”
CMC released a statement condemning the massacre and demanding the President to be made accountable “for the murders and mayhem perpetrated by her allies.”
Nov. 25 –Lakas-Kampi CMD, the ruling political party, officially expelled its members who were suspects in the massacre, namely Ampatuan Sr., ARMM Gov. Zaldy Uy Ampatuan and Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. The death toll peaked to 57, at least 27 of which were journalists.
Nov. 26 – Ampatuan Jr. surrendered to Mindanao Affairs Secretary Jesus Dureza, and was brought to the National Bureau of Investigation. He denied the allegations of murder, and instead accused the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a militant organization, as the perpetrators of the crime.
Nov. 27 –Mangudadatu filed his certificate of candidacy at Shariff Aguak.
CMC students, faculty and staff members, together with other UP students, converged at the Malcolm Hall in an indignation rally for the victims of the massacre. About 200 students were present as different organizations called for justice and offered prayers.
Nov. 28 –Seven more Ampatuans were labeled suspects in the case. They were ARMM Governor Ampatuan, Gov. Ampatuan Sr., and relatives Akmad, Saudi Jr., Bahnarian Jr., Sajid Islam, and Akmad Tato.
Nov. 29 – Supporters of the Ampatuan family, consisting of about 900 hundred people and about a dozen local officials from nearby provinces, rallied in front of Zaldy Ampatuan’s mansion in Maguindanao.
Nov. 30 – A new witness to the massacre surfaced. The witnesses implicated eight Ampatuans as the direct masterminds to the crime.
Dec. 1 – Ampatuan Jr. was officially charged in court with 25 counts of murder.
Dec. 2 – Ampatuan Sr. and seven other clan members were indicted for the massacre. Palace told state lawyers to “go full blast” with the prosecution of the suspects despite death threats.
Dec. 3 – Police forensics confirmed that at least five women were raped before they were shot. The police and the military recovered high-power firearms with PNP and DND markings from a vacant lot a few hundred meters from the Ampatuan house.
Dec. 4 – Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declares martial law in Maguindanao. Ampatuan Sr,, five other Ampatuans and six more suspects were summoned in court to face murder allegations.
Ampatuan’s lawyers filed a writ of amparo against the military for detaining Zaldy Ampatuan and his father when no formal charges have been filed against them.
CMC hosts the forum “’Wag Bibitiw sa Maguindanao 57” to call for justice for the massacre victims.
Dec. 5 – Most senators oppose martial law, fearing it would lead to Arroyo’s term extension. About 4,000 troops and 12 military tanks descended upon the people of Maguindanao to repress the purportedly brewing rebellion in the province.
Dec. 6 – Arroyo submits her report justifying the imposition of martial law to the Congress, which includes images of the victims’ mutilated corpses. Military forces continue to dig up arms caches allegedly owned by the Ampatuans as the number of arrest during martial law climb to 62.
Dec. 7 – Inquest proceedings for rebellion charges started against Ampatuan Sr, Zaldy Ampatuan and 24 others as the number of arrests climb to 67. Meanwhile, former Sen. Jovito Salonga and other lawyers filed five seperate petitions in a bid to nullify martial law, saying there was no rebellion in Maguindanao.
Dec. 8 – Ampatuan Sr. and Zaldy Ampatuan should have been charged with rebellion today, but the Justice Department could not file a case in the Cotabato court because it was a holiday there.
CMC puts up a countdown board, displaying the number of days until justice is served for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.
Dec. 9 – DOJ has filed rebellion charges against seven Ampatuans. Dec. 9 is dubbed the “Black Day” of mourning and indignation as media practitioners rally for justice for the massacre victims.
CMC puts up a freedom tarp where students could sign to express their condemnation of the massacre.
Dec. 10 – The number of arrests has climbed to 71, with 24 charged with rebellion and only one charged with murder in court.
UP students, along with other organizations, marched from Mendiola to Malacanang rallying for justice for the massacre victims and opposing martial law in light of International Human Rights Day.
Dec. 11 – AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado has recommended the lifting of martial law in Maguindanao because the local government offices were now functioning. Over 1,000 high-powered firearms have been recovered since the search spurred by the Nov. 23 killings.
Dec. 12 – Arroyo lifts martial law in Maguindanao. Despite this, Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command and Maguindanao martial law administrator, says the military will continue disarming private armies and arresting suspects of the massacre.
Dec. 13 – Maguindanao remains under a state of national emergency despite the lifting of martial law. Residents who vacated the province in fear of the military rule are starting to return back home.
Dec . 14 –The Senate adopted Resolution No. 1522 “expressing the sense of the Senate that the proclamation of martial law in the province of Maguindanao is contrary to the provisions of the 1987 Constitution.”
Government authorities filed a multiple murder case against Ampatuan Sr., and 27 others.
Dec. 15 –Arroyo defended the declaration of martial law in front of a group of teachers who visited the Palace, telling them that the government merely “[acted] quickly to secure the peace and ensure justice the safety of our people.” She also mentioned that her administration will “make no apologies for acting where others fear to tread.”
SOURCES: gmanews.tv, inquirer.net, abs-cbnnews.com, ifj.org, manilastandardtoday.com, fsrn.org