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A son of one of the victims of Ampatuan Massacre commemorate the bloodiest election-related incident in General Santos City on Tuesday evening. This coming November will mark the 10th year of the Ampatuan Massacre yet relatives have yet to have justice. Photo by Bing Tenorio of Gold Star Daily-Bukidnon

Families hope for conviction of suspects in Ampatuan massacre

GENERAL SANTOS City — The families of the victims of the 2009 Ampatuan massacre have called on the government to hasten the delivery of justice, saying more than enough time has passed to rest the case.

Panawagan ko lang sa ating Pangulo na sana ibigay na sa amin ‘yung hustisya na hinihingi namin kasi sobra-sobra na ang binigay sa kanila [Ampatuans] na due process, so ang hinihingi naman nami ay due process naman para sa mga pamilya ng biktima,” said Eliver Cablitas during the candle lighting activity held here Tuesday.

Eliver is the husband of Mindanao Focus reporter Maritess Cablitas who was among the 32 journalists killed during the massacre.

The Ampatuan massacre is considered the single deadliest attack against the press in history.

“So Mr. President, unta maluoy ka sa amoa sa mga pamilya sa biktima diri sa Mindanao kay kami nagalaom kanimo na ikaw taga Mindanao ug mahatagan nimo mi og sakto na hustisya para sa among mga minahal sa kinabuhi. Nagahinaot ko kay President Duterte na tagaan niyag ngipon ang atong balaod karon na mahatagan na unta og sayo ug dili na ipaabot na mahimo pang mag 10 years pa ta og sobra pa sa atong ginapaabot na hustisya,” he added.

The victims’ kin hoped for the conviction of all accused as the Quezon City court is set to rule on the case this year.

Principal suspect Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and 92 other accused are waiting for the verdict after years of trial of the case.

Authorities charged 197 persons in connection with the killing but only 117 were arrested while the case is being tried in court. Six suspects had already died while in detention, including the Ampatuan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Emily Lopez, president of the group Justice Now Movement said justice remained elusive as they wait for the promulgation of the case.

The group also considers most of the accused as allies of the present administration and fears the decision might not be in favor or the victims.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines led Tuesday’s candle-lighting ceremony for the victims as part of the countdown until the massacre’s 10th anniversary on Nov. 23 this year.

Journalists from parts of Mindanao joined the families of the victims during the ceremony as the also made a call to the government to end impunity in the country.

The group plans to hold gatherings in every 23rd day of the month and aims to keep the public informed about the gruesome killings that took place nine years ago. (davaotoday.com)

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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