Kin of Ampatuan victims decry slow justice

Posted on November 23, 2012

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The crime scene, in barangay Salman, Ampatuan town in Maguindanao, of the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre is commemorated today but justice remains elusive for the 58 people killed that fateful day. (INQUIRER MINDANAO)

DAVAO CITY — Myrna Reblando, widow of slain journalist Alejandro “Bong” Reblando, said three years have passed since the Maguindanao massacre but their seven children are still grieving and in pain.

“This is still one of the things that we are trying to struggle out of everyday,” Reblando said in a recorded video message sent via e-mail to the Inquirer and other news organizations.

Reblando now lives in Hong Kong where she has sought asylum believing her safety in the Philippines was compromised.

“I am here because this is the place where I feel I am safe and I can freely speak out my opinion about the on-going hearing of the Maguindanao massacre,” Reblando said explained.

Reblando said she left the country after a P3 million prize was allegedly put up by the massacre perpetrators on her head.

The widow said she was dismayed with President Aquino, whom she helped during his presidential campaign in 2010. Reblando appeared in one of Mr. Aquino’s campaign advertisements.

The security of the relatives of the victims, Reblando said, is uncertain because almost a hundred of the suspects are still roaming freely in the country.

Of the 196 accused in the massacre, 93 are still at large. Of the 103 now in jail, only 66 have been arraigned.

She lamented that the culture of impunity continues, despite the pronouncements of President Aquino during his campaign that he would end the killings.

Reynafe Momay-Castillo, daughter of slain photo journalist Reynaldo Momay, also called on the government to look into the situation of the victims’ families.

“To the government, I hope you see how the kids of the victims are now. Many are still living in the dark, full of anger and hatred,” Castillo, who now works as nurse in the US, said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

Commemoration protests will be staged in key Mindanao cities today.

In General Santos City, families of the victims, planned to march around the city on Friday bearing mock coffins to mark the third anniversary of the brutal slayings.

In Cotabato City, there will be candle-lighting and symbolic tree-planting by media practitioners at the complex housing the seat of the regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to commemorate the third anniversary of the massacre.

In the Cagayan de Oro City, media workers also plan to hold a mock “funeral” march and rally.

In Davao City, there will be a forum at the Ateneo de Davao University and a rally led by media workers, campus journalists and bloggers.

Meanwhile, British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lillie, in a statement, said UK stands in solidarity with the Filipino people and the victims’ families in honoring the memory of those who died in the massacre. /INQUIRER

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