No letting up in fight for justice for Maguindanao massacre's 58th victim

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Justice remains elusive for the family of photojournalist Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay but they vowed to continue to fight for the late photojournalist, the 58th victim in the gruesome Maguindanao Massacre but whose case was junked by trial court.

“To forget is not an option. What I’m doing now is to fight forward,” Castillo said in a video message posted on her Facebook on the 12th year since the Philippines woke up to the worst case of election-related violence in our history.

“Year after year, on every November 23rd, I am forced to understand my own loss telling myself that every day that I get to live, I also get to live to fight. I will fight in order to move forward. Being able to forward is to stay [in] the process of finding justice for my father, Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay,” she added.

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court in December 2019 handed down the historic ruling that found 43 people guilty as principals or accessories to 57 counts of murder led by Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his brother Zaldy Ampatuan.

But for the case of Momay, the court said that while it was established that he was part of the convoy of journalists with the Mangudadatus on the way to Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak, he could no longer be found after 10 a.m. of November 23, 2009.

The prosecution failed to establish that the dentures belonged to the 58th victim, it added.

Castillo said she has become more familiar with the feeling of loss as she served at forefront of the pandemic as a nurse at the United States.

“Such feeling of loss comes in so many forms. Losing is relative to each one of us but seeking justice is one and the same. Justice deals not with the pain of loss anymore but the peace of knowing that it is served,” she said.

Castillo referred to getting justice for the death of her father as a “racetrack” she has to go over and over again until she can “make someone accountable.”

“My finish line is still out there. I have to see the goal. I need to see right through everything [that will happen] to my father’s case. With more than a decade, two presidents have already ended their terms of office and up to now I am still the daughter of the 58th victim of Maguindanao massacre,” she continued.

Momay’s family in January 2020 sought to appeal the civil and criminal aspect of the Quezon City court’s ruling to the Court of Appeals.

Appeals to reverse the conviction have also been filed by the Ampatuans.



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