Who is Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, the judge who took on the Maguindanao massacre case?

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 18) — The landmark ruling on the 2009 Maguindanao massacre is set to be handed down on Thursday after a trial that spanned nearly a decade. But who is the judge who will render the verdict on the worst election-related killing in the country and the world's single deadliest attack on journalists?

The fate of the 101 accused and justice for the 58 killed, including 32 media workers, will be in the hands of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.

She wasn't even supposed to handle the high-profile case.

The multiple murder case was raffled off to Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) via a lotto draw and went to Branch 84 Presiding Judge Luisito Cortez in December 2009, but he inhibited. He turned down the high-profile case out of fear for his life and his family's safety, considering that the 197 accused included members of the political Ampatuan clan, who hold power in Maguindanao.

With the minor setback, the case was re-raffled and landed on the lap of Solis-Reyes of Branch 221 on December 17, 2009. She rose to the challenge. Reports even stated that she refused a police security team that was offered to her.

Since the start of the proceedings in January 2010, the prosecution has heard the testimonies of 357 witnesses against the accused, 80 of whom remain at large. Charges against some of the defendants were earlier dropped for lack of merit, some turned state witnesses while eight died during the trial.

The proceedings wrapped up on July 17 and Solis-Reyes submitted the case for decision in August. She was expected to hand down the verdict ahead of the 10th anniversary of the massacre on November 23, but she asked the Supreme Court for a 30-day extension to review the "voluminous records" of the trial against the defendants, including primary accused Datu Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr.

Before Solis-Reyes' appointment at the local Quezon City court in December 2004, she was a presiding judge of the municipal trial courts in Angeles, Pampanga and Olongapo, Zambales from 2001 to 2003. She also served as a public prosecutor from 1995 to 2000 and served as a public attorney from 1992 to 1995.

Aside from her law degree from the University of Santo Tomas, she also holds a journalism undergraduate degree from the Lyceum of the Philippines.