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After Ampatuan conviction, CHR urges gov't to ensure same 'full force of law'

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday, December 19, expressed hope that the Ampatuan conviction signals an improvement in the handling of cases in the country.

"While being a landmark decision, we steadily urge the government to ensure that every case of assault to the rights of Filipinos be met with the full force of the law towards addressing marks of impunity that continue to prevail," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 found the Ampatuan brothers, Datu Andal Jr and Zaldy, guilty of 57 counts of murder in the 2009 massacre that saw 58 dead, including 32 journalists. (READ: Ampatuan brothers convicted in 10-year massacre case)

The massacre in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009, is considered as the single deadliest attack on media in the world and the worst election-related violence in Philippine history. ([WATCH] Trial of the decade: Highlights of Ampatuan massacre case)

The trial took 10 years, much to the agony of families left behind. The incident also cemented the Philippines' image as one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist. (READ: TIMELINE: The long road to justice for Ampatuan massacre victims)

The CHR said it hopes that the circumstances surrounding the Ampatuan massacre and the decade-long trial serve as lessons, including the need to resolve cases with urgency, provide protection for journalists, and ensure media literacy.

"May this verdict revive our faith in the justice system, as well as in the principles of due process and rule of law – further recognizing that value of truth is our best defense against the many forms of abuses that threaten human dignity," De Guia said. – Rappler.com

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.

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