Massacre victims’ kin tell Andal Sr.: Don’t die yet
Relatives of some of the victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre have a message for the primary suspect who is suffering from advanced liver cancer: Don’t die just yet.
“We want [Andal Ampatuan Sr.] to live longer to be able to witness the serving of justice. We want him to witness for himself that there’s such a thing as justice,” Mary Grace Morales, secretary general of Justice Now Movement (JNM), told the Inquirer in an interview.
She said she and the other victims’ families were saddened by the news that the 74-year-old Ampatuan patriarch had lapsed into a coma at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City.
Morales’ husband, Rossell, and elder sister, Marites Cablitas, were among the 58 persons, 32 of them media workers, killed in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, on Nov. 23, 2009. Ampatuan Sr., his sons and several supporters have been charged in connection with the massacre.
Morales, however, said she was becoming more pessimistic about attaining justice for the slain journalists under the Aquino government.
“We don’t expect to get justice under the current administration. Time is running out. The Aquino administration has reneged on its promise to expedite and resolve the case before its term ends in 2016,” she added.
The speedy resolution of the Maguindanao massacre case was among Mr. Aquino’s campaign promises in the 2010 presidential race.
According to Morales, some of the families were also losing hope, especially with the resignation of their lawyer, Prima Quinsayas of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), who recently quit as private prosecutor.
“Attorney Quinsayas is now working with the City Prosecutor’s Office in General Santos City. So, we don’t have a private lawyer now because we were told [the] FFFJ [had] run out of funds for the continuation of our legal battle.”
However, the FFFJ had promised to look for a new lawyer, she added.
Nancy dela Cruz, mother of slain journalist Gina dela Cruz, complained that life since the massacre has become quite hard. Aging and jobless, she is taking care of her late daughter’s four children.
In an interview with reporters, Dela Cruz said that she hoped that the Ampatuans “would pay us before the old man (Andal Sr.) dies.”
In an order issued earlier this month, Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes who is handling the Maguindanao massacre case allowed the Ampatuan patriarch to remain at NKTI after his doctor said that the prognosis on his condition was “dim.”
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