Kins of Maguindanao massacre victims' hit slow pace of justice-A A +A
Friday, November 2, 2012
KORONADAL CITY - Family members of media workers killed in the infamous
Ampatuan massacre marked All Saints’ Day with visit to cemeteries and calls for a speedy trial as the gory manslaughter is entering its third year.
Emily Lopez, president of Justice Now Movement, said family, friends, and co-workers of the media victims individually visited their graveyards, except those in General Santos City where the slain media workers were laid beside each other.
Other media victims have been buried in private or public cemeteries in the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Davao del Sur.
"It's difficult for all of us to come together because the burial places are scattered. So we are marking ‘undas’ individually. But in General Santos we expect the family members to gather together this afternoon because the victims buried here are in the same place," Lopez said.
But Lopez said the families of the media victims would gather for the third anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre, which happened on November 23, 2009.
"The wheels of justice are still grinding slow for the Ampatuan massacre case. We hope that the trial will proceed much faster," she said.
Motions from the defense panel are dragging the trial, Lopez said, adding that many suspects have also remained at large.
One hundred ninety six persons stand accused in the massacre, around 100 of them still being hunted by authorities.
The trial has been going four times a week, with a day allotted to the filing of motions.
Fifty-eight people, 32 of them media workers, have been killed in the massacre blamed on several members of the powerful Ampatuan clan, including former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.
His namesake, former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., allegedly headed around 100 gunmen in stopping the convoy of then Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2010 gubernatorial race.
Mangudadatu, who eventually won the gubernatorial race, had sent his wife to file his COC. She was among those brutally killed along with other female family members and relatives.
The media workers were also part of the convoy to cover the filing of the COC towards Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao's provincial capital.
Ampatuan Sr. and Ampatuan Jr. have both pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Another prominent family member, Zaldy Ampatuan, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was also among the suspects. He has yet to be arraigned.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 02, 2012.