Two years after Ampatuan massacre, where is justice?

A few days from now, it will have been two years since the gruesome Ampatuan Massacre.

Photo from End Impunity: NUJP’s Countdown to Ampatuan Massacre’s Second Anniversary

I have not forgotten.

I strongly condemned the brutality on Twitter, in my blog and even got interviewed in TV Patrol. I felt so much for the families who lost their loved ones in the Ampatuan massacre. I wept as I see the mutilated bodies in photos . How does one even begin to comprehend the immensity of their loss? Such unfamiliar territory . There are no words to express my utter disbelief that this could happen in a democracy.

The question I posed to presidential candidates in 2009 was:

It is my hope that our government has the political will to arrest and punish the perpetuators of this massacre. This should not happen again. The people responsible for the massacre must be held accountable. The Arroyo administration must not protect nor tolerate this even if they are allies. All presidential candidates should make it their platform to implement the justice system in these areas of Mindanao so rido is not resorted to anymore.

Where are we now?

As of today, only two Ampatuans have been arraigned. Only 93 of the 196 accused have been arrested. The 300 and 320 witnesses listed by prosecution and defense lawyers respectively may take 200 years to present to court, according to veteran human rights lawyer and litigator Senator Joker Arroyo.

We can all do something together by speaking out for justice and against the continued impunity with which those who wish to suppress freedom of expression impose the ultimate censorship – death – and how the apathy and inaction of government has made this so.

Let’s do our share in not forgetting the fallen victims of the Ampatuan Massacre.

Use the hastags #endimpunityinPH #kilosna #IDEI #Nov23 for the campaign.

This is post is my contribution for Blog Action Day initiated by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines as part of the countdown for the International Day to End Impunity on Nov. 23, the second anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre.

Overview: CMFR database on the Killing of Filipino Journalists/Media Workers since 1986 (updated November 2…

CMFR List of Filipino Journalists/Media Workers killed in the line of duty as of Nov. 10, 2011