Ampatuan Massacre remembered on Sunday

Rappler.com
On the 43rd month, NUJP offers prayers for the victims of what has been described as the 'worst political massacre' in the country

FACEDOWN. Former Maguindanao province governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. (C, in wheelchair) is guarded by jail security officers after his arraignment for electoral sabotage charges at a regional trial court of Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines on 26 March 2012. Photo by Noel Celis/POOL/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) will be observing the 43rd month of the Ampatuan Massacre on Sunday, June 23.

58 people were killed, 32 of them journalists, in what has been described as the worst political massacre in 2009.

NUJP will light candles and offer prayers for the 32 journalists who were killed. 

Last May, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the President wants convictions of the suspects before his term ends in 2016.

“It is a litmus test for the government. If we fail to get convictions (by 2016), the public will be very disappointed because that will mean that wheels of justice in this country really grind so slowly.”

At least 3 witnesses have been killed since 2010, and 93 out of the 196 accused for the murder remain at large. 

Suspects

The Ampatuan clan had ruled Maguindanao for about a decade under the patronage of then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who had used the clan’s militia to go against Muslim separatist rebels.

Andal Ampatuan Jr allegedly ordered the massacre to stop political rival Esmael Mangudadatu from running against one of the Ampatuans in the race for governor.

Ampatuan allegedly led his clan’s private army in attacking a convoy that included his rival’s wife, relatives, lawyers and 32 journalists.

The Fransiscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception will lead a 6:00 pm prayer assembly on June 23 at St Joseph’s College, E. Rodriguez Avenue in Quezon City. 

Prosecution lawyer Harry Roque and family members of the 32 journalists killed in the massacre will give updates on the case.

On Monday, June 24, a roving exhibit on the aftermath of the massacre dubbed “Never Forget” will be displayed at the High School Building of St Joseph’s College, Quezon City. – Rappler.com