Maguindanao massacre protesters in MendiolaBy Jamie Elona
MANILA, Philippines — A media organization and other militant groups carrying makeshift coffins arrived in Mendiola in Manila Friday afternoon to stage a protest rally in commemoration of the Maguindanao massacre’s third anniversary.
From the National Press Club’s office in Intramuros, the groups marched to Mendiola at 2:15 p.m., carrying the coffins that represented mediamen killed in the massacre, along with 25 other victims.
Each participant wore a black T-shirt bearing “Justice? 2009 [-] 2012. The group arrived in Mendiola a few minutes past 3 p.m.
Upon their arrival, the coffins were lined up on the street and chicks were placed on top of them signifying a call for justice.
In an interview, Benny Antiporda, NPC president, said Friday’s protest was to show their dismay over the government’s slow action on the case.
“Dalawang taon na si Presidenteng Noynoy [Aquino III] na walang malinaw na nangyayari. Ang inasahan natin nitong anibersaryo na ito ay maglalabas ang palasyo ng salita o ano pa mag pahayag na magsusuporta sa mga pamilya ng mga naulila. Pero wala tayong narinig. Naging tahimik sila. Puro salita, wala naman sa gawa,” Antiporda said.
He also expressed dismay over a Supreme Court decision which barred members of the media to cover the trial.
Antiporda said the act only added “insult to injury” saying that what they were expecting was a statement from the high tribunal on the fast-tracking of the case.
“Sinabi na bawal na ang media [pero] ilalaban natin na maging bukas ito sa lahat ng tao. Ang kinakatakutan natin ay magka hokus pokus, at tuluyan nang mapawalang sala at maligtas sa kamay ng batas itong mga Àmpatuan,” he said, pertaining to the Ampatuans who have been tagged as the masterminds behind the massacre.
While 103 are now under detention, 92 remain at large, among them nine members of the Ampatuan clan involved in the massacre, 64 Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) members, eight policemen, four AFP personnel and seven others, Special Investigation Task Froce “Maguindanao” said.
An 11-foot “Impunity Monster Effigy” will be burned later Friday.