CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 August 2017

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Maguindanao Massacre is tragedy upon tragedy

MANILA (UCAN): “Let’s continue our advocacy for justice and peace,” Bishop Martin Jumoad said on November 23 as The Philippines marked the sixth anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, in which 58 people, including 32 journalists, died.

“Let’s not sit down... instead push so that truth will prevail,” the bishop continued.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez added that misguided priorities on behalf of the government coupled with inefficiency, lack of political will and corruption have all contributed to the failure to implement justice to date.

Journalists and media workers marched in Manila on November 23 to show their disgust over the government failure to deliver justice for the dead journalists and those who died with them in the insidious plot.

Joel Egco, the president of the National Press Club of The Philippines, said the promise of the president of the country, Ninoy Aquino, to bring the perpetrators of the 2009 killings to justice, remains empty.

“It is but right to tell him how disgusted we are at his administration’s weak efforts in curbing media killings and in addressing the culture of violence and of impunity that threatens us all,” Egco commented.

The Manila-based Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility described the 2009 massacre as the “single most deadly incident in the history of the Philippine media.”

In February 2010, some 200 people, including several powerful politicians from Maguindanao, were indicted in connection with the murders.

Their cases, however, became mired in a flurry of motions filed by the defendants’ lawyers.

Several charges have been dropped against some of the accused, while some suspects remain at large.

In addition, several witnesses have reported threats to their lives or that they were offered large amounts of money to change their testimony. 

At least four witnesses and three relatives of the massacre victims have been killed, while others hide in foreign countries.

Six years after the massacre, not a single suspect has been convicted.

 

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