PTFoMS sees resolution of Maguindanao massacre case under Duterte administration
Expect that the Maguindanao massacre case would be resolved within four years, Malacañang said on Thursday, as the country commemorates the eighth anniversary of the worst election-related violence in the country.
“The DOJ estimated that at the rate the trial is moving, the case may be resolved—conservative projection po ito—well within four years or well within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte,” said Undersecretary Joel Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS).
“The good news is, after a long and tedious search for justice, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Egco added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he was hopeful that at least two accused have a promulgation of judgment even earlier than four years.
“And we’re hoping that earlier than the four years mentioned by the Undersecretary (Egco) that there could at least one or two accused who will have a promulgation of judgment,” Roque said.
Egco, citing statistics from the DOJ, said that 58 counts of murder have been filed against 188 accused, adding that 166 were already in prison.
“Although there are 58 counts of murder, we only need one to put everyone behind bars. So ang akin po, hindi ko na po aantayin ‘yung four years ‘no (for me, I will not wait for four years),” Roque said.
“Dahil ako naman po ay natalaga din Presidential Adviser on Human Rights ‘no, gagawa rin po ako ng hakbang para naman masiguro na magamit ‘yung first-in, first-out, at tignan po natin kung either this year or early next year ay magkaroon ng promulgation of judgment against one or two of the accused,” he added.
(Since I was also appointed Presidential Adviser on Human Rights, I will initiate steps to make sure we can implement first-in, first-out, and we’ll see either this year or early next year that we can have a promulgation of judgment against one or two of the accused.)
Roque explained the first-in, first-out concept.
“Yung first-in, first-out po, dati-rati kasi kinakailangan tapusin lahat ng ebidensya laban sa lahat nang nasasakdal. Pero iminungkahi po namin, tapusin natin ‘yung ebidensya laban sa ilan at kung kanino matapos ‘yung presentation ng evidence doon sa nasasakdal na ‘yun ay pwedeng magkaroon na ng promulgation of judgment,” he said.
(The first-in, first-out is usually a procedure wherein we need to finish all the presentation of evidence against those who are accused. But we proposed to end the presentation of evidence against some, and when the presentation ends, a promulgation of judgment can be conducted.)
“So hindi na po kinakailangan tapusin ang lahat ng ebidensya laban sa lahat bago magkaroon ng promulgation of judgment,” he added.
(We don’t need to end all the presentation of evidence against all the accused before we can have a promulgation of judgment.)
With this, Roque said, “I think we don’t have to wait four years.”
Search for justice continues
Noemi Parcon, wife of one of the killed mediaman, said they weren’t tired of searching for justice.
“It’s been eight years nung nangyari ‘yun pero masakit pa rin. Although we have moved on but the search for justice is still there,” Parcon said.
“Kung nakapag-antay kami ng walong taon, maantay namin ‘yung apat na taon. Pero kung, sana, mas earlier, mas magiging masaya po kami…Yung sa amin lang po, bago sana bumaba ‘yung ating bagong Pangulo, mabigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay ng aming mga mahal sa buhay,” she added.
(If we were able to wait for eight years, I think we can manage to wait for four years. But if it is earlier the better, we’ll be happy… For us, it is much better before the President steps down, we can get justice for the death of our loved ones.)
Another wife of a slain reporter, Ma. Cipriana Gatchalian, recalled the brutal massacre.
“Ang sabi ko, ‘parang hindi tao ang gumawa nito. Ito ay kagagawan ng isang tao na isang adik, na isang demonyo.’ ‘Yun ang tawag ko nung makita ko ‘yung body niya,” Gatchalian said.
(I told myself this is not like the handiwork of a human being. This is the doing of a man who is a drug addict, a demon. That was what I thought when I saw his body.)
“Ipagpatuloy ko ang pagpakibaka na makamit ang hustisya para sa katahimikan ng husband ko at ng mga biktima ng Maguindanao massacre kasi ang iba hindi pa naka-recover,” she added.
(I will continue the struggle to attain justice for the eternal repose of my husband and the other victims of the Maguindanao massacre because some are still not recovering.)
Parcon said they were hopeful that Duterte would help them achieve swift justice.
“Noong manalo si President Rodrigo Duterte, nagkaroon kami ng pag-asa, dahil alam namin na ‘yung kanyang campaign against drugs would really help na mapabilis ‘yung takbo ng kaso, dahil alam namin na nagawa ‘yun ng mga Ampatuan, nasa influence sila ng drugs,” he said.
(When President Rodrigo Duterte won, we saw hope because of his campaign stance against drugs which can hasten the process of the case, we know that the Ampatuans did this because they were under the influence of drugs.)
Roque assured that Duterte would keep watch on the development of the case.
“We will monitor that because the President has really committed that the way to win the war on drugs is also to have a professional police force,” he said. /jpv
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