By ANDREA ZARAH DAYAO and CRISTINA TUPAZ
MANILA—Members of the Malacañang Press Corps, together with progressive and human rights groups, marked the fifth month of Ampatuan massacre that killed 57 people, including 38 media men.
Wearing black shirts, journalists and other protesters marched April 23 from Morayta to Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) Bridge to demand justice and to condemn the controversial resolution of acting Justice Secretary Agra clearing two members of Ampatuan clan, Zaldy and Akmad, on the massacre.
Forsaken by Agra and Arroyo
“It has been five months and we haven’t seen the light yet, this case has been dying too ,” Editha Tiamzon, spouse of the UNTV driver Daniel Tiamzon, one of the massacre victims, said. “These are dirty tricks being done by the government and we wish that this issue would be given attention,” she added.
“And to you Agra, please do respect our rights. The decision you made should have been addressed to us first before the media. To President Arroyo, you have been called as the mother of the state. Now, tell me what do you feel whenever you see your countrymen weeping?” Erly Numpad, spouse of UNTV cameraman Mc Delberto Arriola said in Filipino.
Glenda Legarte, kin of Koronadal-based journalist Jun Legarte, said that the best way Agra can do is to resign out of delicadeza.
“Mr. Agra , please do not deprive us justice. Have mercy on us. You are a human too. Do not have a heart of stone,” Catherine Nuñez, mother of the slain UNTV journalist Victor Nuñez.
Julieta Evardo, mother of another UNTV journalist who was killed in the massacre, asked Agra to ‘modify his acting skills’ and amend the decision he made.
Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan(Bayan)maintained that Agra’s resolution was mandated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Red Batario, executive director of the Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), called on the people not to forget the massacre. “This is not just about getting justice, this is not about sympathizing. This is actually also about changing how the government should run the country,” he said.
The program ended with a candle-lighting ceremony to honor and pay tribute to the media men who were killed in the Maguindanao massacre.
Media groups in Baguio, Bulacan, Pampanga, Ilolilo, Kidapawan, Davao, Cebu and other provinces also held parallel actions commemorating the fifth month of the massacre. (Bulatlat.com)