We are angry that three years after the massacre, the perpetrators of this gruesome crime have not been found guilty by the courts. We are angry that the trial for the election-related crime has reached the eve of another national elections.
By Jun Cinco
Published: November 23, 2012
We mark the third year of the Maguindanao massacre with a call for immediate justice for the 58 victims. We unite with the families of the victims, the country’s journalists and the Filipino people in condemning the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino for failing to speed up the resolution of the case.
We are angry that three years after the massacre, the perpetrators of this gruesome crime have not been found guilty by the courts. We are angry that the trial for the election-related crime has reached the eve of another national elections. We are angry that half of the suspects for the case remain at large while families of the victims still receive various threats to their lives and property.
This is a sad commentary on the country’s justice system, and affirms once more that the wheels of justice in the country grind exceedingly slow for victims who do not belong to the country’s political and economic elites.
Pres. Aquino, whose campaign for the presidency involved riding on the people’s anger over the massacre and the crimes of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has refused to wield his influence to seek immediate justice for the victims.
The Aquino government’s “Noynoying” on the case has allowed the perpetrators of the crime, who belong to the Ampatuan warlord family of Maguindanao, to consolidate their power in the province, which continues to be their little kingdom.
Four witnesses in the case have been killed or are suspected to have been killed, and people have every right to think that the Ampatuan family is also responsible for their deaths. In an effort to further increase their power, 74 members of the Ampatuan family are running for the 2013 elections, an increase from 68 in the last elections.
The Aquino government is also showing how little it values the country’s journalists and their profession by refusing to seek immediate justice for the massacre’s victims. While maximizing the media for its propaganda campaigns, this government has been curtailing press freedom by supporting the Right of Reply Bill, refusing support for the Freedom of Information Bill, and legislating the Anti-Cybercrime Law.
The Aquino-controlled Supreme Court has even decided against televising the trial for the massacre, despite Aquino’s declarations that he favors televising the trial. This violates the public’s wish that the trial be made transparent and its hearings faster.
We also condemn Pres. Aquino for refusing to dismantle private armies such as the one deployed by the Ampatuan family in carrying out the massacre. Aquino has failed to fulfill his campaign promise of revoking Executive Order 546, which allows the arming of Civilian Volunteer Organizations by local officials. He has refused to eliminate or at least curb conditions for the creation of private armies, including local officials’ use of public funds for these.