Press Statement | 13 November 2018
Ka Joaquin Jacinto
Nine years after the brutal massacre in Maguindanao of more than fifty media men and women, justice continues to be far beyond the grasp of the family and friends of the victims as the Ampatuan warlords remain unpunished, even under the Duterte regime.
The NDFP-Mindanao condemns the Duterte facist state for being party to the continuing delay and denial of the exaction of justice against the Ampatuans, especially so now that the current occupant in Malacañang is allied with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a known patron and protector of the Ampatuan warlords. With Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo back in power, as Speaker of the House no less, justice for the victims will remain elusive.
Duterte remains deaf to the cries for justice of the loved ones and friends of the victims of the bloody Ampatuan massacre. Worse, Duterte, being at odds with mass media institutions on several occasions, tolerates the extra-judicial killing of media men and women. It also emboldens the perpetrators of EJK’s to perpetuate such dastardly act of killing media people, especially those who have an anti-Duterte stance on the issues of drugs, human rights and his dictatorial tendencies.
Duterte continues to be on a war path against certain media institutions he considers antithetical to his regime’s policies and impositions. Rappler, for instance, which has been at the receiving end of Duterte’s ire, is the target of cases and several threats. Under the US-Duterte regime, there is apparently a crackdown on the media, which can be rightfully viewed as an attack against the freedom of the press. especially in Mindanao where martial law prevails.
Even after the bitter lessons of the Maguindanao massacre, the media continues to be under siege. Under martial law, media and broadcast institutions in the island are made to carry – hook, line and sinker – the Duterte line in many issues in order to dodge Chief Executive’s retributive attacks. During the Marawi siege of 2017, for instance, no news or information came out of that area that did not pass the heavy and high-handed scrutiny of the AFP.
The Duterte regime is desperate in making sure that the general impression that “martial law is good for Mindanao” and “that there are basically no complaints of rights violations.” That is precisely so because news and information that say otherwise are either repressed or viciously attacked.
Thus, the NDFP-Mindanao calls upon the people to resist the US-Duterte regime’s continuing repression of the mass media. We must continue to press the US-Duterte regime, if it still has regard for the rights and welfare of the media, if it still has the ear for the families and friends of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, to exact justice against the Ampatuan warlords. Nine years is too long a time — justice delayed is justice denied!##