Police investigators look for evidence on a mangled vehicle unearthed at the crime scene where human remains were dug up from a shallow grave as investigators try to find more bodies, victims of a massacre after gunmen shot at least 50 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province on Nov. 25, 2009. (File photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)
Senatorial candidates from the Oposisyon Koalisyon (OK) decried justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre as the verdict for the nine-year-old case will be out soon.
OK’s candidates—Jose Manuel Diokno and Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis—said that the decision for the case must serve justice for Filipinos and journalists who suffered a gruesome death in Maguindanao last Nov. 23, 2009.
“The murder trial must be concluded as soon as possible. Bigyan natin ng katarungan ang mga Pilipino. Pag may sala, may parusa, mayaman man o mahirap,” Diokno said.
“At a time when journalism is under ceaseless attack, a decision is needed for it will convey the message that the crime of silencing those who speak the truth–to power and to the people–does not pay,” Tomawis added.
This after, Anthony Fadullon, chief of the Department of Justice’s prosecutorial arm, told reporters last Monday that the regional trial court Judge Jocelyn Soils-Reyes is expected to get the promulgation on whether to acquit or convict the prime suspect, Datu Andal Unsay Ampatuan Jr.
READ: Maguindanao massacre decision out soon
Tomawis then compared the incident to the second World War, saying it took a longer time to convict the suspects of the massacre than to drive out the country’s invaders.
“Ibang klaseng pa-siyam ito. Taon ang binilang. Nine years is twice as long as World War II in the country. We have come to a point in our history that it takes a longer time to convict a dozen than drive out a million invaders,” she said.
Diokno also reminded the public to never forget the incident that killed 58 people.
“When time passes, the horror, outrage, and even the pain can become a fading memory. On the 9th year of the gruesome massacre of 58 — the worst election-related killing in our history — we must never forget this blatant display of impunity,” he said.
A total of 197 people were accused, of which, 103 are currently undergoing trial for multiple murders, including Ampatuan.
Also facing the same charges are his brothers Zaldy Ampatuan and Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan. The latter was allowed, however, by the court to post bail in January 2015.
Another accused, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. died in detention last July 17, 2015. /jpv
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