Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte has lauded the conviction of seven persons behind the bombing of the Roxas Night Market in 2016, saying, “it underscores the delivery of justice to the victims.”

However, VM Baste, who is currently the acting city mayor, expressed dismay over the acquittal of the seven bombers from the crime of terrorism in the absence of the law to convict them as such.

This was the VM Baste’s reaction to conviction of Tj Tagabaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Urbano Mustapha, Jessy Vincent Guinto Original, Zack Haron Lopez, Jackson Mangulamas Usi, and Ausa Abdullah Mamasapano for the complex crime of Multiple Murder and Attempted Multiple Murder handed down by Judge Marivic Vitor of the Regional Trial Court Branch 266 in Taguig City on Monday. 

The accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay the heirs of each 15 deceased victims the amounts of P 100,000 as civil indemnity, P 100,000 moral damages, P 100,000 exemplary damages, and P 50,000 temperate damages. They are also directed to compensate the 69 injured victims the amount of P 50,000 as civil indemnity, P 50,000 moral damages, and P 50 exemplary damages. 

“[The verdict] underscores the delivery of justice for the fatalities of the bomb attack, the survivors, their loved ones, the entire City of Davao and all the Dabawenyos who endured the impact of the said terror attack,” VM Baste said. 

However, VM Baste said the accused could have been convicted of the crime of terrorism if only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law.

“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,” he said.

The vice mayor added that the court’s decision underlines the urgency to enforce strong laws against people and groups espousing terrorism.

He also said that while the city claims the verdict as a triumph, Dabawenyos should never let their guard down and must continue to embrace the culture of security.

VM Baste also expressed his gratitude to the survivors and the families of the fatalities for pursuing the case against the perpetrators despite the challenges they have been facing.  

Just this month, the city commemorated the 4th year of the September 2, 2016, Roxas Night Market bombing incident that claimed the lives of 15 people and injured 69 others. 

Since then, the city government has never ceased its campaign on vigilance and being a responsible citizen of Davao through the Culture of Security. CIO