If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. ~ Desmond Tutu
I can’t believe it’s been two years since that gruesome Ampatuan Massacre hit me like a bolt of lightning. Shock, dismay and utter disbelief. Outrageous! I condemned the brutality through social media and a blog post over at Blog Watch.
Photo Credits to Reuter
View Slideshow of Other Photos (Warning: very graphic)
Today I feel the same. Utter disbelief that only two Ampatuans have been arraigned. Only 93 of the 196 accused have been arrested. The 300 and 320 witnesses listed by prosecution and defense lawyers respectively may take 200 years to present to court, according to veteran human rights lawyer and litigator Senator Joker Arroyo.
200 years? Unbelievable.
Why is justice painfully slow? Can’t Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 do anything to speed up the process?
I believe the Supreme Court who has jurisdiction over the hearings can do something to speed up the trial.
1. Can’t the least guilty (drivers, police who were forced to be at the crime sceme) bargain for lesser penalty or become state witness? Make a statement to be used against the other.
2. DOJ Secretary De Lima needs to focus on the Ampatuan trial. Give more resources to Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221.
3. Why not fix the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP) which have been contributing to the delay of the trial.
4. Whatever happened to the four of the accused who have applied for witness conversion but were denied by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court? Can’t they be reconsidered?
5. Can we have daily hearings? Ignore the complaints of the Ampatuan lawyers on the over thrice-weekly hearings.
6. Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes should not handle any other cases so she can concentrate fully on the documents and the hearing.
Meanwhile the families of the 58 Ampatuan massacre victims Ã¢â‚¬â€œ mostly Mindanao based-journalists, continue to suffer from the loss of their loved ones, most were family breadwinners.
I don’t know the intricacies of the Court but I hope the Department of Justice will also focus on the Ampatuan trial and NOT be fixated over the Arroyo election sabotage case?
But you , my dear readers can help. I would like to invite you to use the power of communication and the Internet to speak out for justice and against the continued impunity with which those who wish to suppress freedom of expression impose the ultimate censorship Ã¢â‚¬â€œ death Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and how the apathy and inaction of government has made this so.
Here is how:
You may use the following materials to join the online campaign for the International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) Blog Action Day on November 21.
Use the hastags #endimpunityinPH #kilosna #IDEI #Nov23 for the campaign.
This is my contribution for Blog Action Day initiated by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines as part of the countdown for the International Day to End Impunity on Nov. 23, the second anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre.
Justice to Journalists/Media Workers killed in the line of duty as of Nov. 10, 2011