Impunity reigns 4 years after Maguindanao massacre – groups
MANILA, Philippines – Various media groups and people's organizations marched from the National Press Club grounds to Mendiola to commemorate the 4th year of the Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao on Saturday night, November 23.
The group called on President Benigno Aquino III to make good of his campaign promise that the case would be resolved before the end of his term, and that the government would grant financial assistance to the families of the victims.
In a press conference earlier in the day, the widows of victims said the government should pay them compensation since the crime were perpetuated by state actors.
Many of the families left behind are being induced to agree to out-of-court settlement, with the principal suspects, the Ampatuan clan, offering them money.
"What we want now from the Aquino government is not just to issue press releases but concrete and practical actions in favor of our demand for justice and support for the victims' families," said National Press Club president Benny Antiporda.
The Burgos Media Center criticized Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Sonny Coloma for his statement that "there is no more culture of impunity in the country under the present administration."
The media group slammed Coloma for making the claim "considering that nothing has yet been accomplished in terms of hastening the pace of the massacre trial and the fresh killings of members of the media in the first 3 years of the Aquino administration."
According to Alan Ace-Aclan, spokesperson for the group, "with injustice still rife and the murder of journalists and other critics of the government is still being reported on the fourth year of the massacre and 3 years after President Aquino was elected, it is crystal clear that the culture of impunity is still very much alive."
After a short program, the groups vowed to make the November 23 protest at Mendiola a yearly event until such time that justice is served to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. – Rappler.com