Members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) commemorated last Saturday the 11th month of the Maguindanao massacre, by wearing black shirts, lighting candles and holding prayers for the victims in Cagayan de Oro City. Since the gruesome killing of 30 journalists last November 23rd, journalists worldwide have been following the trial which started on September 8th.
Andal Ampatuan Jr., then a town mayor, is standing trial for allegedly leading the massacre and the first witness to testify was Lakmudin Saliao, a former helper of the Ampatuan family for over 20 years. Another 196 people are facing charges related to the massacre, although more than 100 of the alleged gunmen remain at large.
Victims' relatives have accused the Ampatuans of using delaying tactics and fear that the case could drag on for years. Human Rights Watch claims that up to five people with knowledge of alleged abuses by the Ampatuans had been killed since the massacre.
IFJ member unions will be called upon next month to get involved in commemorating the one-year anniversary of the massacre and call on the Aquino government to bring all the killers to justice and guarantee a speedy investigation and trial.