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They, too, deserve justice

MANILA, Philippines - For several weeks now, news programs and commentaries were flooded with the killing of Ramgen Revilla and Charice Pempengco’s father Ricky, both celebrities and public personalities. The killing of Charice’s father was declared “case closed” by the police, while that of Ramgen continues to land the headlines, with the media giving a blow-by-blow account on the case.

We share both of the family’s cry for justice. These killings cruelly reminds us of the fact that killings happen to almost everybody. We are shocked that such killings happened to prominent families. At one point, we feel envious at the public attention driven at these cases. We are more dismayed, however, at how the police investigation with both cases seems so fast and efficient. Yet, beyond the public’s eye, we know that more killings remain unsolved and lack public attention. In fact, a number of them are remembered this November: 

1. Just last month, we are shocked over the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, the well-loved Italian priest in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato who was killed on Oct. 17. Nobody had been arrested. Also, little did everybody know that after Fr. Pops was killed, soldiers strafed the houses of farmers in Fr. Pops’ parish community. A farmer, identified as Ramon Batoy, was killed.

2. On Nov. 15, a year has passed since top Philippine botanist Leonard Co was killed in Kananga town, Leyte while doing field research on plant species. The term “huge contribution” is not enough to the amount of work he had done in the field of botany and taxonomy which earned him posthumous awards. Yet, Co’s family still waits in agony for the DOJ resolution which was supposedly released three months ago.

3. The preliminary investigation on the killing of Palawan broadcaster Gerry Ortega is still ongoing. Ten months into the investigation and shortly a year since he was killed on January 24, 2010, the respondents continue to delay the investigation. The accused mastermind remains scot-free. 

4. Seven farmers were killed in the Hacienda Luisita massacre in November 16, 2004. The Ombudsman dismissed the case against Army and PNP officials in 2005. Where else do the victims search for justice?

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This nation is thirsty for justice. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why there is overwhelming public attention to the killing of Revilla and Pempengco. Yet, many of the victims of killings, who became the voice to the voiceless and stood their ground even at the face of death, remain unsolved. 

They deserve justice nevertheless.  

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