Media groups, individuals call for justice on 7th year since Ampatuan Massacre

Kristian Javier - Philstar.com
Media groups, individuals call for justice on 7th year since Ampatuan Massacre
Media groups, students and individuals continue to seek justice for the murder of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists, in the Ampatuan Massacre on its 7th anniversary.
File photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Media groups and individuals called for the justice to mark the seventh year since the Ampatuan Massacre.

On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 people, including 32 media workers, were killed in an ambush at Ampatuan in Maguinadanao. They were in a convoy headed for Sharif Aguak town to file the candidacy papers of then Buluan vice mayor Ismael Mangudadatu, who was running for governor against Andal Ampatuan Jr. for provincial governor, when stopped by men believed to be in the employ of the Ampatuan clan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists considers the massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history.

In a released statement, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said the victims have yet to get justice.

"Justice remains elusive for the Ampatuan 58 as on the day gunmen commanded by a madman who would brook no challenge to the almost absolute rule he and his kin enjoyed over their poverty-stricken province mowed them down in a hail of fire and steel," the group said.

The group scored the government for the slow progress of the case, saying the state seems to have abandoned the victims "particularly those of our colleagues who were their families’ breadwinners, to lives of misery and uncertainty, reduced to wondering where to get their sustenance from day to day."

It said the seeming inaction has led to a sense of impunity "that has emboldened those who seek to silence those brash enough to seek to unveil their abuses."

The group added: "Today, even as we commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre, we see a resurgence of threats and assaults on the independent Philippine press fueled by the open contempt and hostility of a leader who would brook absolutely no criticism of his person or his policies, not even if these have opened the floodgates to an orgy of bloodletting unprecedented in its savagery and its utter disregard for the rule of law and human rights."

Meanwhile, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines said that it "is one with the families of the victims of Ampatuan massacre and other media-related killings in their fight for justice."

"On one hand, the Ampatuan clan patriarch and alleged mastermind, Andal Ampatuan Sr., already died of liver cancer, while Sajid Islam Ampatuan, one of the accused, was granted freedom after posting P11.6-million bail. Case trial, on the other hand, has been painstakingly slow," the group said.

Fr. Rey Carvyn Ondap of the Passionist Fathers, in his homily at the massacre site in Ampatuan town last Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre, said that "justice delayed is justice denied."

"The burden is no longer on the Ampatuans, it should be the burden of the court as to how the ruling can be hastened," Ondap said in his native language, according to a MindaNews report.

Sen. Leila De Lima, in a statement released early Wednesday, said that she continues to express her continuing solidarity with the families, friends and relatives of the victims.

As secretary of Justice, finding justice for the victims was her responsibility and she said she assigned the best prosecution team to handle the case, she said.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aquirre II also said in a statement that the DOJ joins the families and relatives of the victims in prayer to not only get the justice they deserve, but that they may find the strength to "pick up the shattered pieces of their lives."

He said "the Department of Justice reiterates its commitment in the quest for the elusive justice of the families of the victims."

Aguirre added that the DOJ will do all that it can to resolve the case faster.

Several media groups and students also flocked at Mendiola Manila earlier today to call for justice for the victims of Ampatuan.




  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with