Two days after the Ampatuan Massacre occurred on Nov. 23, 2009, a team of journalists, lawyers, and a forensic expert flew to the site to extend immediate humanitarian assistance to the victims and their families, and to conduct an independent and fair documentation of what had happened.
Nearly nine years ago, the trial for multiple murder of about 200 accused in the Ampatuan Massacre began. Of the 91 arrested suspects, only 81 had been arraigned by 2013, and as many remained at large. In the course of the trial, eight of the accused had died.
Numerous motions filed by lawyers of the accused Ampatuans had stretched the pace of the trial interminably. By 2013, they had filed nine motions for the judge to recuse herself. Bail hearings for 70 detained suspects and lead accused, Datu Unsay Ampatuan, ended only in 2017.
Three years after the Ampatuan Massacre trial began, the high court in December 2013 assigned an "assisting judge" to speed up the process.