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De Lima backs live coverage of Ampatuan massacre verdict

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Senator Leila de Lima supports the call of media organizations for the “live coverage” of the scheduled promulgation on Dec. 19 of the decision in the Ampatuan massacre case.

The country commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Maguindano massacre on Nov. 24. Of the 58 victims of the massacre, 32 were journalists.

The mediamen were covering the filing of certificate of candidacy (CoC) for Esmael Mangudadatu, the vice mayor of the municipality of Buluan who wanted to run for governor of Maguindanao against Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of then incumbent governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. when they were ambushed and killed by armed men.

“This case is the single, most horrific crime – multiple murder – in modern Philippine history, in terms of the number of victims which include media practitioners and the beastly nature of the killings,” De Lima said on Thursday.

“As someone who is undergoing an undeserved trial that was initially shut off from the world to watch, I understand the importance of making public every single detail of the verdict of this case, which dragged on with the defense stalling the procedures,” she said.

De Lima was detained in February 2017 at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center on drug charges.

“Given how the case is now overdue, the public deserves no less than being able to see how this case will pan out,” the opposition senator said.

“We need to remain vigilant as the court proceedings come to a close, 10 years after that gruesome Monday in 2009,” De Lima said.

She added, “The notoriety of this crime is known all over the world, and the world needs to know, in real time, the verdict.”

“Will true and complete justice be served? Or will impunity continue to reign in this country?” the senator from Bicol said.

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