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Analysis, General Views, Maguindanao Massacre

Aquino Must Swiftly Bring Justice to Victims and Families of Maguindanao Massacre

Location of Ampatuan, the location where the m...

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E-Mail Address:
Press Statement (November 22, 2011)
The Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) is alarmed that while the Supreme Court swiftly handed out decisions that would allow former President Gloria Arroyo to travel out of the country and the Pasay Regional Trial Court quickly issued a warrant of arrest to her, the victims and relatives of the Maguindanao Massacre are still searching for justice.
Two years ago, on November 23, 2009, armed men killed in the most barbaric and ruthless way, 58 people in a convoy of supporters of now Governor Esmael Mangudadatu who were on their way to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy. Those killed included 33 journalists who would cover the occasion.
The Maguindanao Massacre is the most brutal and unparalleled event of its kind in recent history. Allegedly perpetrated by the most trusted political allies of former President Arroyo inMindanao, it was also the worst case of media killing in the world.
Church’s doctrines have recognized media’s role in providing information at the service of the common good (cf. Cathechism of the Catholic Church, #2494). In the same breath, the Roman Catholic Church’s Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) in 1991 also condemns patronage politics and political dynasties which lopsidedly concentrated power on a few established families (cf. PCP II, #24).
Moreover, PCP II exhorts politicians to lead in renewing politics, to defend and promote justice, and to “put teeth to good legislation” by strictly enforcing a correct system of rewards and punishment (cf. PCP II, #350-352).
Today, however, two years since the mass murders, while more than 100 people led by former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. are on trial for the massacre, no one has been indicted yet. This means that the victims and their loved ones have not found justice that is due them.
President Aquino recently said that “the guilty should be made accountable” because doing otherwise means allowing anyone “to abuse our people.” We are then calling on the Aquino Government, the Department of Justice and other government instrumentalities to speed up prosecution of those who are responsible for the Maguindanao Massacre.
While former President Arroyo and her partners must be tried for alleged electoral cheating, efforts of the Aquino government to give justice to victims and relatives of the Maguindanao Massacre should not result to a compromise and, worse, exoneration of those responsible, for the sake of pinning down Arroyo.
President Aquino must be true to his recent declaration that, “We are all working for a new Philippines… where whoever does wrong… is punished, a country where justice rules.” Meanwhile, he also said that he expects the massacre trial to go beyond his term. To be true to his reform agenda, the Aquino government must urgently deliver justice to the victims of the massacre.
For reference:
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.
Head Convenor
Visayas Clergy Discernment Group
Tel. No. 033-3291625

About anol_cebu

As chief digital officer of PRworks Inc., Emmanuel Mongaya manages the digital communications of the public relations agency. He also blogs, writes columns for Sun.Star Cebu and Superbalita, and serves as administrator for “Maghisgot Kitag Politika Bay,” Cebu’s dynamic political community in Facebook.

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