Statement of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Davao Chapter on the 10th year commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre issued on November 22.
Ten years ago, 58 persons including 32 journalists and one human rights lawyer, were brutally killed in Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan in Maguindanao, in what is now considered the deadliest attack on journalists and worst case of election-related violence in Philippine history.
Ten years has passed yet no verdict has been meted on the perpetrators.Despite the imprisonment of some members of the Ampatuan clan, power still prevails in the towns of Maguindanao.
In 2015, Sajid Ampatuan was granted temporary freedom after paying P11.6 million for bail. While on bail, he has faced multiple counts of graft and malversation of public funds when he was governor in 2009. Yet at present, he is elected mayor of Shariff Saydona Mustapha.
Ten years with no justice and the culture of impunity worsens in the Philippines.
Attacks on journalists continue and worsened as members of the independent alternative media are being red-tagged. Other sectors, from lawyers to church people to the Lumad are likewise red-tagged, harassed and even killed.
Press freedom and human rights have never taken such a beating and taken new meaning as the “threat” to the current administration in the country.
As we commemorate the 10th year of the Ampatuan Massacre, we call on the public to protect the basic tenets of democracy.
Let us unite to make impunity a thing of the past and fight for justice for the 58 and for the rest of the Filipinos.
Let us join in the call for justice and conviction of the principal accused: Zaldy, Andal Ampatuan and Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan.
Let us stand for people’s freedom and justice against the dark claws of injustice and impunity.