Let justice be served to the massacre victims

December 1, 2009 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

vir2Lives wasted, future lives devastated, freedom and democracy on the brink of destruction.

These are how I described the Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre which costs the lives of 64 innocent people including 27 journalists whose only intention was to cover a historic event — the filing of candidacy of a gubernatorial candidate in that province. It was barbaric and gruesome act that only people shrouded by demons could perform.

Who were the culprits and what were their motives in doing such gory and hair raising acts? The Philippine National Police(PNP) has already identified the perpetrators and yet it appears that the wheel of justice is grinding slowly. In Maguindanao ( Mindanao ) and in almost all of the Muslim provinces, political warlordism is the name of the game. Even during the Marcos regime, the Dimaporos of Lanao del Sur were untouchables and until now that chain of power has not been unshackled. Instead the chains became so strong and formidable and even coddled by the national government.

La Presidenta Gloria is right in condemning the dastardly act. She’s right in placing the province under state of emergency and under the control of Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). But she’s not right in making dilly-dally decisions in getting the Ampatuans (from the Governor down to his political sons) using the full force of law. Police authorities said that they have yet to establish the culpability of the Ampatuans.

But by golly! It was clear as crystal. Nobody else has the temerity to do that massacre except those enemies of the Mangudadatus – and those are the Ampatuans. I don’t believe that the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will do it. No, they won’t because they could not get anything from it.

This is now the test of the political will of La Presidenta Gloria. Let heads rolls. Let the axe of justice grind to its fullest. The government should be there to protect its people and yet sometimes protection is being compromise due to personal dealings.

As a practicing journalist, I sympathize with my fellow newsmen for their fate. I commiserate with their families who lost their loved ones on the call of duty. But heavens! Why were they not spared from the massacre? They were there for the sake of getting news. They were there in the name of democracy. And they were there to provide information to the people.

Election is fast approaching. If that incident is election-related and politically motivated, then our work as media men is in jeopardy. What happened to the 27 journalists may happen to us. God forbid. Or, is it a signal for us to be cowed and gagged in ferreting out truths comes election time?

Power is intoxicating and that what makes politicians holding on to their posts. Sometimes, there are also in the media ranks that are taking sides – and even becoming personal relations officers of politicians. And that make journalists vulnerable to coercion and at most corruption.

For the meantime, let’s wait how the government handles the massacre. Will there be justice to the victims? Will there be sacred cows? Will the Ampatuans yield to the government’s powers ?

The drama that is unfolding before us is worth waiting for fellas. (For comments, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com)

Entry filed under: Opinion.

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