Maguindanao massacre victims’ kin: ‘Para kaming nabunutan ng tinik’
MANILA, Philippines — “Parang nabunutan kami ng tinik.”
With these words, families of fatalities in the 2009 carnage in Maguindanao welcomed the guilty verdict of the Quezon City court against members of the Ampatuan clan, who are deemed principal suspects in the gruesome multiple murder case.
“Kanina noong pagkarinig namin na na-convict na talaga ‘yung principal suspect, parang nabunutan kami ng tinik sa aming puso,” said Jhaymark Jhoy Duhay, son of victim Jhoy Duhay from Gold Star Daily, one of the 58 dead in the Maguindanao massacre.
(When we heard that the principal suspect has been convicted, it seemed like a thorn has been removed from our hearts.)
“Kumbaga ‘yung durog na durog parang biglang nabuo,” he added.
(It seemed that what has been crushed seemed suddenly whole.)
Jhaymark was only 10 years old when the grisly massacre happened on November 23, 2009 in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao. Eventually touted as the worst election-related violence in Philippine history and the single deadliest attack on journalist in the world, the Maguindanao massacre claimed the lives of 58 individuals, among them 32 media practitioners.
Despite the guilty judgment of the court on the main accused, the now 20-year-old college student in a university in General Santos City also expressed fear over his safety since some of the respondents – including members of the Ampatuan family – were acquitted while some of the convicted remain free.
“Katulad ko po, nag-aaral po ako sa kolehiyo. Hindi ko po alam kung ano ang mangyayari sa araw-araw sa amin (Like me, I am studying in college. I don’t know what will happen to us every day),” he said.
He then called on authorities to hasten their efforts to catch other suspects who are still at large.
Meanwhile, Joseph Decena, brother of victim Noel Decena from Hiligaynon weekly Periodico Ini, said the guilty verdict against some of the accused revived his faith in the country’s justice system.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa Panginoon dahil dininig niya po ‘yung panalangin namin na makamit ang hustisya. Kanina habang narinig namin ‘yung guilty [verdict], parang nawala na ‘yung pagdududa namin sa gobyerno kung may hustisya pa ba o wala na kasi 10 years na,” he said.
(We thank God because he heard our prayers for justice. When we heard the guilty [verdict] a while ago, it seemed like all our doubts on the government disappeared whether or not there is still justice because it’s been 10 years.)
Like Jhaymark and other families of the victims, Noel also expressed fear for his life since most of those acquitted in the mass murder case also live in Mindanao. Of the 100 plus accused, 56 were cleared by the court due to reasonable doubt.
“‘Yung sa mga na-acquit din, fear namin talaga ‘yung safety kasi taga-Mindanao kami eh, ‘yung mga na-acquit taga-Mindanao din ‘yun. Okay lang sana kung malayo kaso parehas lang kaming taga-Mindanao,” he said.
(Regarding those acquitted, we really fear for our safety because we are from Mindanao, those acquitted are also from Mindanao. It’s okay if they are far away but all of us are from Mindanao.)
On Thursday, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 found Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., and his brothers – former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan and Datu Anwar Ampatuan Sr. guilty for 57 counts of murder.
READ: Court acquits Andal Jr., others for photojournalist’s death
READ: Daughter of Maguindanao massacre’s 58th victim dismayed over acquittal
Also found guilty were Datu Anwar Sajid “Datu Ulo” Ampatuan and Datu Anwar “Datu Ipi” Ampatuan Jr.
But the court acquitted Sajid Islam Ampatuan, Datu Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan Sr., and over 50 others that include police officers.
Edited by KGA
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