Regarding the reported killing of another witness in the Maguindanao massacre case, Elaine Pearson from Human Rights Watch (HRW) would like to make the following comments:
“The Philippine government should redouble its efforts to protect witnesses in the Maguindanao massacre case. As the reported killing of witness Esmail Amil Enog underscores, these witnesses are in extreme danger and it is appalling that they are being hunted down one after the other,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“Before Enog, there was Suwaib Upham, who was willing to testify about the massacre and who was murdered in June 2010. Upham’s killers have not been brought to justice,” Pearson said. “Relatives of other witnesses have also been harmed and there have been effort to bribe witnesses to stop them from testifying.”
“Witnesses won’t come forward if they and their families continue to be targeted. The government needs to act quickly to protect witnesses and their relatives, and to arrest and detain the remaining suspects,” Pearson said. “Aquino should make witness protection a priority to fulfill his promise of justice for the massacre victims.”