DOJ creates panel on Maguindanao massacre

Posted at 11/24/2009 5:26 PM | Updated as of 11/24/2009 5:35 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has created a panel tasked to immediately act, dispatch and resolve cases relating to the Maguindanao massacre.

In a memorandum, DOJ Acting Secretary Agnes Devanadera named 8 prosecutors to handle all cases stemming from what is now considered the worst election-related violence in the country.

They are Senior State Prosecutor Philip Kimpo, Senior Prosecutors Bernardo Parico, Rassendell Rene Gingoyon, Bunrofil Altares, Aldrin Evangelista, and Lamberto Fabros. Kimpo was appointed as the panel's chairman.

Other members include Prosecutor Rami Giuling of Maguindanao and Provincial Prosecutor Akilala Balt of Shariff Kabunsuan, Maguindanao.

"The team is directed to act with dispatch and resolve immediately cases that may be referred for inquest/preliminary investigation," Devanadera said in the memorandum.

Malacañang has already placed Maguindanao under indefinite state of emergency after 39 people—who were on their way to file a candidate's nomination to contest the province's governorship in next year's elections—were killed by a group of armed men in one of its towns on Monday. Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City were also placed under state of emergency.

Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on Mindanao affairs, told the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) earlier that President Arroyo has instructed him to act as head of a crisis management committee that would oversee military and police operations in the areas.