Davao City Vice-Mayor Sebastian Z. Duterte. (PNA file photo)
DAVAO CITY – Acting City Mayor Sebastian Z. Duterte hailed Tuesday the guilty verdict on the seven individuals responsible for the September 2, 2016 terror attack at the Roxas Night Market here that resulted in the death of 17 people and injuries to 69 others.
Handed down Monday by Judge Marivic Vitor of the Regional Trial Court Branch 266 in Taguig, the decision found the accused TJ Tagabaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Mustapha, Jessy Vincent Guinto Original, Zack Haron Lopez, Jackson Mangulamas Usi, and Ausa Abdullah Mamasapano “guilty beyond reasonable doubt for multiple murder and multiple attempted murder”.
The seven individuals were sentenced to reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay damages to the families of the deceased and the injured victims.
Duterte said justice has been served for the victims of the bomb attack, the survivors, their loved ones, the entire City of Davao, and all the Dabawenyos who endured the impact of the terror attack.
“Four years after the grisly attack, we continue to mourn with the families of the victims and the survivors. Day in and day out, these families are constantly reminded of the horror brought by the bomb explosion to their lives,” the acting mayor said in a statement.
“While Davao City has epitomized unity, resilience, and strength to stand tall, strong, and victorious in the face of adversities and difficult challenges, the terror attack has clearly jolted us,” he added.
Duterte also said that although the perpetrators were convicted as murderers, they would have been convicted as terrorists as well—if only the Philippines has stronger laws against acts of terror.
“And if only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law, the kind of justice for the victims of that terror attack would have been even more meaningful not only to their families but also to the peace-loving Dabawenyos who want to ensure that their future is free from the threats of terrorism. Terrorism is real. And if we fail to do something to stop it, it will find its way to destroy us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Baste expressed his gratitude to the survivors and the families of the fatalities for persistently pursuing the case against the perpetrators despite the many challenges.
“You were dauntless in your pursuit of justice and your courage was truly inspiring. While we claim this as our victory, we should never let our guard down. Our experience should push us all the more to embrace the culture of security. With the government on our side, only we can protect ourselves against terrorism,” he said. (PNA)