THE Duterte administration has taken concrete steps to avoid a repeat of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre involving the grisly murders of 58 innocent people, among them 32 media workers.
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said President Rodrigo Duterte’s separate orders allowing freedom of information (FOI) in the executive department and creating a task force on media killings were aimed to protect journalists from physical violence.
“Through these twin government initiatives, we hope to make the Philippines known not only for its vibrant democracy, where freedom of the speech and of the press reign supreme, but also a safe place to work for members of the media,” Andanar said in a statement to Palace reporters yesterday.
The Palace also vowed “serious action and cooperation” among the government and members of the Fourth Estate, as it marked the 7th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre.
Seven years after the gruesome massacre, Andanar acknowledged that justice remains elusive for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and their families because of the “turtle-paced grind of the judicial process.”
The special court handling the multiple murder case against the perpetrators has yet to issue its final verdict.
Aguirre vows justice
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday reiterated the government’s commitment to bring justice to the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre which marked its seventh year on Wednesday.
”We will do all that we can to make the wheels of justice turn faster not only in this case but in other cases. I enjoin everyone in the DoJ to join us in praying for the victims, their families and that justice may rightfully be served,” Aguirre said in a statement.
At present, the Public Information of the Supreme Court said that a total of 197 people were charged including members of the influential Ampatuan clan (15 of whom are surnamed Ampatuans) while 58 people, 32 of whom are print and broadcast reporters were killed by gunmen on the morning of November 23, 2009.
With Hector Lawas