Impunity of political dynasty triggered Maguindanao massacre: Pangilinan

ON TENTH YEAR OF THE WORLD’S DEADLIEST ATTACK ON JOURNALISTS

Impunity of political dynasty triggered Maguindanao massacre: Pangilinan

MANILA — The sense and reality of impunity of a political dynasty caused the Maguindanao massacre a decade ago, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said on the 10th year of the world’s deadliest attack on journalists.

“Ten years ago today, a warlord clan in Mindanao wanted to seal its power and control over the people in its territory in the 2010 elections. Together with his band of ruffians, a particularly desperate member tried to block any challenge to his clan’s power and control, and so abducted, shot at close range, and buried media practitioners and some civilians who mistakenly followed the convoy for the filing of candidacy of a challenger,” said Pangilinan.

“The Maguindanao massacre that claimed the lives of 58 souls, including 32 journalists and media workers, exposes how deeply entrenched feudal politics is in the Philippines,” he added.

“It’s been ten years since, but none of the perpetrators have been convicted, while some of the witnesses have either been killed or disappeared. The crime, brazenly committed in broad daylight, is another example of how painfully slow the Philippine wheels of justice turn,” Pangilinan said.

“We decry the decade of impunity that has emboldened criminals, including state agents, to snuff life out of innocent citizens on whim. The thousands of suspected drug users and pushers murdered in various police operations are new testament to the chronic impunity in the country. The chilling effect hounds us all,” he said.

“We exhort the courts to speed up the cases against the victims. Justice for the victims and their families through rightful conviction will bring a flicker of hope to the other victims of killings, including those in the so-called drug war,” he added.

In 2010, Pangilinan filed Senate Resolution 168 pushing for live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial, believing that transparency will fast-track the judicial process. In 2011, he filed Senate Resolution 642 seeking to declare November 23 of every year to be a national day to end impunity.