Media, campus press, LGU call for justice for Ampatuan Massacre victims

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay (MindaNews/24 November) —  Members of the Zamboanga Sibugay Media Club (ZSMC) and campus journalists in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay gathered at the town’s plaza Wednesday to join the nation in commemorating the second anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre.

The group lit candles, tied black cloth on their arms and wore black shirts to join the call for justice for the November 23, 2009 massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media..

But it wasn’t just the media that expressed support to the call for justice for the victims. The Sannguniang Bayan of Ipil passed a resolution addressed to the national government reiterating the call to fast track the prosecution of the perpetrators to give justice to the victims.

SB Member Alberto Alcoriza, a former media practitioner, authored the resolution, said, “we are also exerting our own simple efforts in order to make the voice of the people who are crying for justice even louder so that these voices can reach the ears of the top officials out there and finally serve justice for everybody.”

The 2009 massacre is the country’s worst pre-election violence. Fifty-two persons in a convoy of  six vehicles led by Genalyn, wife of then Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, were on their way to the provincial office of the Commission on Elections to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for governor when flagged by about a hundred armed men down along the national highway in Ampatuan, Maguindanao and herded to Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, some 3.5 kilometers uphill from the highway.

Taken alomg with them were six persons in two vehicles that happened to pass at the wrong time.

Witnesses said the armed men were led by Andal Ampatuan, Jr., then mayor of Datu Unsay town, who was going to run for Maguindanao governor.

Mangudadatu is now governor of Maguindanao.  (Paulnazer Lontua/MindaNews)