How could the president forget the victims in the Ampatuan Massacre in his State of the Nation Address? The November 23, 2009 massacre claimed the lives of 58 individuals, including two women lawyers and 32 journalists. This month is the 44th-month since it happened.
This inhuman and gory massacre named our “more fun “ country the world’s most dangereous place for journalists. Consistently, news updates on this internationally monitored case has brought up adjectives as: foot-dragging investigation, no arrests, delayed, missing, at large, etc. And, it has added to the militant organizations’ long list of concrete proof of failures that question the government managers’ sincerity to serve the nation, besides failing to support the wheels of justice so it may be really served the victims of this single act of terror.
Every one of the 44 months, local and international human rights groups, journalists’ organizations, lawyers, church workers, peasants, students, etc. write letters, convene rallies, prayer vigils, fora to appeal to the Philippine president, to government officials and representatives that justice be truly served.
It has been said that “the freedom of the press is the bedrock of a democratic society,” the continued often display of impunity in the handling of this world famous case is but a tiny reflection of the gravity of continued human rights violations against the rights of Philippine citizens, journalists and media workers included. There were 15 journalists killed in the first three years of president Aquino’s administration. Only ten of the total 155 cases of media killings, have seen convictions and not one of those arrested were masterminds to the crimes committed.
The fact that it has not merited mention in the SONA can mean justice and closure for the victims is no priority of this administration. Even if it was only for the sake of the memory of the late Benigno Aquino II who once also started out as a journalist. # nordis.net