Press Release
November 24, 2015


Six years on and still no conviction is a clear sign that justice remains elusive for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and their families, according to Senator Grace Poe.

Poe, a leading presidential aspirant, said the wait had been agonizing for the families of the 58 people killed in the 2009 massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao. The victims' families are forced to endure the long and tiring legal tussle.

Not one of the 198 charged has been convicted. The preliminary investigation on at least 50 new suspects was only conducted last March.

"Justice is obviously delayed, but we're hoping that it won't be denied. Six years is just too long. The government must at least extend continued assistance and support to those who lost their loved-ones in such a brutal manner," said Poe.

The incident that has become known as the "Maguindanao massacre" is being attributed to the patriarch of the Ampatuan clan, Andal Sr. Ampatuan, whose men allegedly attacked the convoy of Esmael Mangudadatu, who was preparing to run for governor against Ampatuan's son, Andal Jr.

Aside from Mangudadatu's family and supporters, 32 journalists were also killed, making the incident the single deadliest attack against the media.

Andal Sr. died last July due to complications from liver cancer. His son, Datu Sajid Islam, had been granted temporary freedom after posting P11.6 million bail for 58 counts of murder. He is set to run for mayor of Sharrif Aguak in the coming elections.

At least 40 others charged for the massacre were granted their bail petitions amid public outrage as the prosecution supposedly failed to present strong evidence to warrant their detention.

Poe expressed concern over reports that some children of the victims have ended up in the streets before being rescued by social welfare authorities. Hunger and poverty are the reasons why some families are now willing to settle their case with the Ampatuans.

"Families of victims were promised a swift resolution. But after six years with no court decision, they feel deserted and neglected by the government," lamented Poe.

Last August, the Supreme Court said trial hearings will wrap up before the year ends. As the nation awaits a resolution, Poe called on state prosecutors to regularly update the kin of victims with the progress of the case.

"Let us assure them that the government is doing everything to help them in their quest for justice," she said.

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