Philippines Remembers Maguindanao Massacre Victims
By SONJA DECHIAN | Published: NOVEMBER 25, 2011
Thousands of people gathered to commemorate the second anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre in Ampatuan, Philippines, on Wednesday, despite the discovery of two homemade bombs nearby. Around 200 police secured the massacre site as crowds of people took part in commemoration ceremonies, releasing balloons and doves. The explosives were diffused, though it’s believed they were not yet assembled and were intended for pick up and use by unknown parties.
Two years ago, 57 people, including 32 journalists were abducted and killed on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu. The body of a 58th victim has not been found. It’s been called the Philippines’ worst politically motivated killing and one of the worst single massacres of journalists in the world.
Members of rival clan, the Ampatuans, are alleged to have carried out the killings, but of the 196 people accused half are still at large. The pace of court processes has frustrated victim’s families and supporters. Attorney Harry Roque is reported to have suggested reducing the number of defendants to only those primarily responsible for planning and carrying out the killings, rather than presenting the evidence for 57 murders in all 196 cases.
‘That’s 11,172 cases. And international studies say that it takes five years to try a single case in the Philippines. So that’s 55,000 years,’ Roque said.