Seven men have been convicted of multiple murder and multiple attempted murder charges over the deadly explosion at the Roxas Night Market in Davao City in 2016.
According to parts of the decision posted by the Davao City government on its Facebook page, the Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 266 sentenced TJ Tagabaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Urbano Mustapha, Jessy Vincent Guinto Original, Zack Haron Lopez, Jackson Mangulamas Usi, and Ausa Abdullah Mamasapano to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment of up to 40 years.
On the evening of September 2, 2016, an improvised explosive device detonated by a cellphone went off at the Roxas Night Market, killing 15 people—including a pregnant woman who died from her injuries days later—and wounding almost 70 others.
The trial court ordered the convicts to jointly pay the heirs of each of the 15 bombing victims P100,000 as civil indemnity, P100,000 as moral damages, P100,000 as exemplary damages, and P50,000 as temperate damages.
The convicts were also told to pay each of the 69 people wounded by the explosion P50,000 as civil indemnity, P50,000 as moral damages, and P50,000 as exemplary damages.
The court dismissed the case against them for terrorism under the Human Security Act of 2007, which has now been replaced by the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, "for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
The court also ordered the issuance of alias warrants of arrest against the other defendants who are still at large.
Acting Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte welcomed the conviction, as he claimed that the suspects would have been convicted of terrorism as well "if only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law."
"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," Duterte said in a statement.
"We believe that the decision underlines the urgency to enforce strong laws against people and groups that espouse terrorism," added the vice mayor, who is in charge while his sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, is on leave.
While recognizing the court decision as a "victory," Vice Mayor Duterte said the bombing four years ago has further motivated them to "embrace the culture of security."
"Let us not forget what happened to us on September 2, 2016 — and the previous terror attacks in the city. Let us not forgive these terrorists," he said.