MANILA — Marking the 44th month of the Ampatuan massacre, relatives of the victims, journalists, lawyers, and law students lit candles at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law.
The November 23, 2009 massacre claimed the lives of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists. Two of the women victims were lawyers.
Widows of three of the journalists killed — Mrs. Edita Tiamzon, Mrs. Monet Salaysay and Mrs. Ma. Cipriana Gatchalian — joined the commemoration, July 23.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) expressed disappointment that President Benigno Aquino III made no mention of human rights and impunity.
The group said 15 journalists have been killed in the first three years of the Aquino administration and only ten of the 155 cases of media killings–one every two years and three months–have seen convictions. Not one of those arrested were masterminds.
The NUJP called on the Aquino administration to act for the speedier resolution of the Ampatuan massacre case and all other pending cases of journalist killings in the country.
Mrs. Salaysay, widow of slain journalist Napoleon Salaysay, expressed hope that the Filipino people would not forget the Ampatuan massacre.
Media groups also challenged Aquino to back his words with action by enacting the Freedom of Information Act and repealing the Cybercrime Prevention Act to fulfill his promises of free expression, respect for our rights and transparent governance.