“Seeing you here has made us a lot stronger” says daughter of lawyer-victim in Ampatuan Massacre

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/ 24 Nov) — Relatives of a slain human rights lawyer who was among those massacred three years ago in Ampatuan, Maguindanao were pleased when they saw a number of journalists and other groups march along the streets here to commemorate on Friday the third anniversary of the worst pre-election violent incident in the country.

Teary-eyed Cielo Brizuela, youngest daughter of Atty. Connie Jayme-Brizuela, said she was thankful that the support of media and other groups in their quest for justice have not waned.

“Seeing you here has made us a lot stronger,” Cielo said in Cebuano.

Cielo brought her grandmother, aunts and uncles to the mock funeral held at around 4 p.m., Friday.

Earlier, her aunt, Andrea Jayme, younger sister of Atty. Brizuela, told media that she was dismayed after she learned that some relatives of the slain journalists have ceased to pursue the case after they received ‘considerable sums of money’ allegedly from some of the families of the accused.

“Do not let your fervor wane. We lost our loved ones here. If you feel discouraged because of the slow pace of trial, just look back and again watch the videos of how our loved ones were killed. By doing that, I know, we will regain our strength to fight for justice,” she said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Kidapawan chapter, together with the Justice for Pops Movement, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and Kabataan party-list, marched from city plaza to the DXND grounds where they held a simple, yet, meaningful candle-lighting ceremony.

Three makeshift coffins were paraded to represent the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre and the other victims of extrajudicial killings in the region. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)