In an ambush interview during his visit to leukemia patients at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go continues to call for justice for Maguindanao massacre victims as a Quezon City Regional Trial Court is set to hand down its ruling on the ten-year-old case on Thursday, December 19, at the Metro Manila District Jail Annex 2 in Taguig City.
The Maguindanao massacre occurred on November 23, 2009 in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao where 58 people were kidnapped and killed on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, then vice mayor of Buluan. The latter was set to challenge then Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr. for the Maguindanao gubernatorial election the following year.
The victims included family members and supporters of Mangudadatu, and 32 accompanying journalists and other media workers.
“Matagal na itong hustisyang hinihingi ng mga Maguindanao massacre victims. Panahon na para maibigay ito sa kanila. Managot ang dapat managot,” Go said, adding that he and President Rodrigo Duterte played an instrumental role in identifying the location of the massacre site.
“Isa po kami ni Pangulong Duterte sa naging instrumento du’n kaya maagang na-diskubre ‘yung karumal-dumal na krimen,” he added.
In previous interviews, Mangudadatu told members of the media that President Duterte was one of the first public officials to provide assistance to the victims of the massacre. The then Davao City mayor also provided the helicopter that led authorities to the site of the carnage.
Go then lamented the country’s snail paced justice system, saying, “Ten years ago na po iyon. Iyan ang prublema sa justice system natin. Bakit kailangan pang maghintay ng ten years para mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga biktima?”
He added, “Talagang nakakapanghina ang justice system natin. Sobrang tagal. Kailangan pa ba nilang magtiis ng sampung taon?”
The senator told that the slow justice system leave Filipinos no resort but to seek help from the President.
“Hindi ko masisisi ang mga Pilipino na tumatakbo sa Pangulo para humingi ng hustisya. Dahil minsan ay nawawalan sila ng pag-asa sa napakabagal na justice system natin sa bansa,” Go said, stressing that justice delayed is justice denied.
He added, “Isipin mo it will take ten years para masentensyahan kung sino ang may sala.”
Asked on his forecast of the ruling, Go said he is optimistic that someone will be held liable for the crimes, saying “Hindi pwedeng walang managot. Kung sino ang may pakana, may plano, dapat managot. Dapat magkaroon ng hustisya lalo na sa mga media people. Meron ding bystanders doon na nadamay lang doon. Walang hiya ang may pakana ng krimen na ito.”
He added that suspects must pay for their crimes should they be proven guilty.
“Dapat panagutan nila at pagdusahan kung sakaling kasama sila sa may sala,” he ended.