Eight Years of Frustrated Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims

Andal Ampatuan. Photo credit: The Telegraph

PRESS STATEMENT

23 November 2017

Passionist Center for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Inc. (PC-JPIC)
St. Paul of the Cross Pastoral Center
Old Novitiate Compound, National Highway, General Santos City
Contact person : Fr. Rey Carvyn P. Ondap, CP (0908-624-3330) / +1 (832)620-9826

How does one put in the various stages of grief eight years of waiting for justice for the families of the victims Maguindanao Massacre?

Should one still be shocked that the wheels of justice for this case continues to grind ever so slow when there is already a dedicated Judge to hear this case week-in week-out, but it appears she is no match for the bully defense counsels of the Ampatuans, epitomized by no-less than the Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo who boasted to a foreign journalist he “packs” like an 18-year old and while he left as counsel around 2015, lawyers with a demeanor like him remain to this day as guardians of the basic rights of the accused Ampatuan Clan and their minions.

Or perhaps denial should still be the order of the day, given that such an event may be a collective nightmare and while it put the Philippines on top of the global list of countries hazardous to working journalists, hey, the passage of time truly blurs the jarring impact of such dastardly acts on the Filipino subconscious now, eight years after the event.

Anger is there still, it cannot be denied, and it actually boils up every now and then, especially when one of the supposed champion of the victims and their families, Atty. Harry Roque, of Center Law, who nearly threw the case away because he championed the early release of some lesser-known to equally-culpable perpetrators who will then have the capability to cause personal harm to the remaining families, now regularly pops up on radio, TV and social media, and he does not appear to have any concrete proposal to President Duterte his boss, how this case may be speeded up in its resolution.

Eight years on, the families of the victims do not know if they should still undergo bargaining with the authorities or the accused, they have been thrown to exhaustion, they are way past their breaking points of endurance, perseverance does not come easy to them now, but they still try.

Depression is something they have gone in and out of many times, like waking up in the night and going to sleep and waking up again and going back to sleep again, is this really a useful emotion but this cannot be avoided, when one is really losing hope, that justice will truly be achieved within a clearly definitive timeframe, in this case.

Acceptance should have been easy, but it’s becoming clear, eight years hence, that this will only be achieved, whenever it may be, when all the accused, particularly the mastermind, the abetter and the actual perpetrators, will be put to jail, for good.

President Duterte, this is apparently a judicial killing, for all your braggadocio and can-do spirit, this case needs you, since last year when you assumed office. Give the necessary marching orders for the prosecutors and the public attorneys under the DOJ to hasten their work so that this case will be ready for judgment before your term ends in 2022.

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