Posts Tagged ‘Culture of Impunity’

Four years after the Maguindanao Massacre, impunity still on the loose; to “never forget,” proven not enough


It has been four years. It has been four years and impunity is still out in the open, catching fire and continually protecting the powerful from the comeuppance they should eat after ignoring and violating the rights and interests of the people.

The Maguindanao Massacre should always haunt us. It should haunt us while we are reading the newspapers at breakfast. It should haunt us while we watch Jessica Soho and Korina Sanchez deliver the news. It should haunt us when we finish our academic requirements. It should haunt us when we browse the web and see what is happening all over the world. If the sources of the news we read or listen to everyday are being harassed while they fulfill their job, what should we do? If blood needs to be shed just to write a news article, why are we not asking why is that happening?

The Maguindanao Massacre points to how dangerous and precarious it is to serve the people by covering events and documenting the truth. The Maguindanao Massacre points to what enduring political warlordism in some provinces in the Philippines can result to. The Maguindanao Massacre points to how you can inhumanely take away the lives of almost sixty people in a snap, get away with it and still be able to enjoy some privileges as a ‘prisoner.’ That infamous massacre shows us what the powerful can do just to protect their interests and their privileged positions in society, even at the expense of children and pregnant women, even at the expense of journalists who were just trying to cover the truth and the events behind them.

Four years after the Maguindanao Massacre, we should not be just “never forgetting;” four years after the Maguindanao Massacre, we should be standing up with gritting teeth, venting out our rage and resolutely looking for who or what should be accountable for this tragic event. A quick number recall: 58 have been killed in the massacre, and four years after, none has been prosecuted. This is what we call Impunity.

Four years after the Maguindanao Massacre, we should be watching closely, and if we are watching closely, we should be resisting and fighting dearly for our rights being trampled on. Media killings continue; under Aquino’s term, 19 journalists have been killed. The threat of criminal libel continues to hover above the head of journalists who are forced to alter or keep untold the truth they should be reporting in exchange of a more peaceful, libel-case-free life. On its part, the campus press constantly needs to deal with threats to their press freedom. King’s College of the Philippines’ Loquitur is facing administrative intervention and a meddling adviser, an appointee of no less than the school Administration. UP Baguio Outcrop is still facing a libel case filed by a University Professor. This is the press that delivers us the news and the stories of the Earth – gagged, choked, intimidated, threatened with sharp words, if not guns and bullets.

This is why on the fourth year of the Maguindanao Massacre, to ‘never forget’ is not enough; to ‘never forget’ is never enough. The truth is being killed. And we are all being fed with lies. With a repressed media, our right to information is being denied. With media practitioners being harassed or killed, our right to information is being killed as well. To demand for justice and press freedom then is not just for the families of Maguindanao massacre victims or the mainstream and campus media to do; it should be concertedly done by all of us, the people whose rights and interests have been neglected by those in power in the advancement of theirs.

Today, we remember the Maguindanao Massacre, and we will never stop demanding that the truth be served and that justice be served for all the people hurt and disadvantaged in this for-the-few scheme of things.

Justice for the victims of Ampatuan Massacre!
Stop media killings and human rights abuses!
Persecute human rights violators!

End Impunity Now!

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Putting the axe on the perpetrators and the system of injustice


Press Statement

November 17, 2011

 


It has been two years and just like most of the other cases filed in this country, the Maguindanao Massacre has yet to prosecute a mastermind and give even a tinge of relief, or sense of justice to the families of the victims.

Charges were filed against suspected masterminds such as Andal Ampatuan Jr. but all that happens to them are stay as charges and not translate into a conviction. Again, we are seeing right in the eye the saddening culture of impunity that gives justice to every injustice being done in this country. Evidences have been laid out against Ampatuan and his cohorts yet the legions of families and kins of the 58 murdered in the savage massacre remain unsure of who was primarily behind the cruel incident that took away a loved one or two from them. As if knowing who was behind it was any consolation, even this is being deprived from those left behind.

We return to the culture of impunity and how it gives no discouragement, and even arguably gives the opposite, to those who are brazen in breaking the law and stepping on the rights of others for their own interests. And we can move forward to our crooked justice system that needs years, more tediously, decades just to put someone behind the bars, and make him suffer at the very least for what he has done.

This is a justice system that is only a reflection of the kind of society we have now. This is a justice system that is implicated in the overall system existing in our society now. This is a justice system controlled by the powers-that-be; again, for the sake of their interests.

In the current set-up of the society where there are those who are more privileged than others, has more money and power than others, it is not surprising that the power relations create systems that favor only those who are rich and powerful. The judiciary system is only one of these poor systems that speak only for those who are privileged and powerful. What this system breeds are killings tolerated for months and years, killings that happen at the first place because of intense political greed, and many other injustices committed by those powers-that-be at the expense of the poor, the voiceless and the ones at the margins.

For the nth time, we call for justice for the victims of Maguindanao massacre. We want a society where those who tell the truth are not silenced or killed, where there is no longer a division between those who have power that covers up their evil and those who are exploited in return. This farce of injustice has to stop. More importantly, the farce of a system where this injustice comes from should also be axed.  

COLLEGE EDITOR’S GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES BAGUIO-BENGUET

 

 

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