Kin of journalists slain in Maguindanao still waiting
BARELY five months before his term ends, President Aquino has yet to keep his campaign promise to resolve the Maguindanao massacre, which took the lives of 32 Mindanao-based journalists in an election-related mass killing allegedly led by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. in Ampatuan town.
Grace Morales, secretary general of the Justice Now Movement, said Mr. Aquino seemed to have forgotten everything he had pledged in the 2010 presidential campaign.
Morales, who lost her husband Rossell and her elder sister, Marites Cablitas, in the massacre, expressed difficulty “fighting the moneyed Ampatuans.”
The high number of media killings attributed to the Philippines by the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) includes those slain in the Maguindanao massacre in 2009.
The IFJ report named the country—with 146 killings—as the second-most-dangerous country for journalists in the past 25 years.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Aquino administration had “dismantled the machinery for impunity by putting in place governance reforms and prosecuting those implicated in the massacre.”
“Since the triumph of the Edsa People Power revolution [in February 1986], the Philippines has become anew a bastion of freedom of expression and of the press where there is no prior restraint or internal security regulations that hinder the work of journalists,” Coloma said in a statement.
The Palace, however, has yet to comment on reports that the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre were losing hope that they would get justice before President Aquino’s term ends in June.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who lost his wife Genalyn and other relatives and supporters in the massacre, had told reporters it was “disappointing” that more than six years after the killings, the court has yet to finish hearing the criminal case.
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