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Maguindanao Massacre trial bogged down by delays and murders of witnesses

Updated on July 20, 2012

Maguinanao Massacre Trial - Justice Delayed

AMPATUAN MASSACRE TRIAL BOGGED DOWN BY DELAYS AND MURDERS


BY Edwin C. Mercurio

"The potential discovery of the “God particle” or Higgs boson is a gateway to a new era that could see humanity unlock some of the universe’s great mysteries, including dark matter and light-speed travel ... Scientists went into a frenzy following the announcement, speculating that it could one day make light-speed travel possible by 'un-massing' objects or allow huge items to be launched into space by 'switching off' the Higgs." National Post,

The God Particle discovery and its potential for speed of light travel by physicists is similarly needed by the Philippine Supreme Court and the Aquino administration. A similar 'God Particle' judicial discovery “to speed up” the trial is direly needed by the Philippine judiciary in dispatching justice to the Ampatuan massacre victims and their long suffering families.

In the Philippines today, the Un-God particle is present in the Ampatuan Trial. The delay in solving the great mysteries of how one clan can order the killings of 57 people, 34 of whom are journalists, and expect to get away easily with these dark murders. The trial of the 196 accused of planning and carrying the carnage since January 2010 has been slowed and delayed by “judicial courtesy” and the mysterious murders of potential witnesses.

According to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. the families of some of the massacre victims have asked the Supreme Court to look at the principle of “judicial courtesy” among the causes of delays in the trial of Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan, Jr. his relatives and their accomplices for 57 counts of murder.

“Simply put, the trial proceedings are dragging and moving at a very slow pace aggravated by the trial court’s indiscriminate reliance on the concept of ‘ judicial courtesy’; the filing of multiple motions and the raising to the higher courts of every conceivable issue that has been resolved by the trial courts,” said a letter to the Supreme Court dated May 14, 2012 by 42 representatives of the victim’s families.

The delays in the trial and motions to adjourn matters sine die and/or to another date have put the lives of witnesses and their families in grave and real danger.

Karapatan (Philippine Human Rights group) in its June 28, 2012 report considered the killing of Alijol Ampatuan, the third witness in the Ampatuan massacre case to be murdered as bearing “the seal of impunity prevalent under Arroyo up to the current Aquino administration.”

The murder of Alijol came on the heels of “the killing of Esmael Amil Enog, another witness to the killings of 57 journalists, lawyers, and individuals in November 2009, known as the Ampatuan massacre.”Enog testified in July that he drove 36 armed men to the remote village of Malataing in Ampatuan town of Maguindanao. His body was found chopped to pieces.

In July 2010, Suwaib Upham who confessed to participation in the massacre was killed by unknown assassins. Upham was reportedly poised to turn state witness. Enog, Alijol and Suwaib did not avail themselves of State Witness Protection Program. Alijol declined witness protection for some apparent reason.

The State Witness Protection , Security and Benefit Act was enacted by the Philippine Congress on April 24 1991 under Replublic Act No. 6981.Witness Protection Programs in Canada, Philippines, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the US are managed by police forces.***


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