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No end in sight to trial of century
Groups urge speedy justice
By Julie Aurelio, Philip C. Tubeza

Three years after the gruesome Maguindanao massacre, proceedings against the accused in what has been described as “the trial of the century” grind at a snail’s pace and have not even reached the  halfway mark.
Lawyer Harry Roque, who represents families of journalists killed in the massacre, said that 91 of the 194 suspects in the case had yet to be arrested.
“If this were like climbing a 100-story building, we would still be on the 20th floor,” Roque said in an interview.
Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged President Aquino to do more to break up  dozens of private armed groups in the wake of the country’s worst political massacre blamed on the powerful Ampatuan clan.
“Three years since the horrors of the Maguindanao massacre, the trial crawls along, half of the suspects remain at large, and the victims’ families still face threats,” Brad Adams, the New York-based rights group’s Asia director, said in a statement.
A Malacañang spokesperson, Ricky Carandang, said police had carried out raids against such groups, leading to some arrests.
Carandang cited an interior department report that showed only around 60 private armed groups remained, compared with 112 at the end of 2010.
“Of the 103 arrested suspects, only 81 have been arraigned. Those who have not been arraigned include former Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan,” Roque said, referring to the detained former head of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The Maguindanao massacre on Nov. 23, 2009, left 58 people dead, including 32 media workers, the highest number of journalists killed in a single incident anywhere in the world.
They were part of a convoy traveling with the wife of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu who was going to file her husband’s certificate of candidacy.
Mangudadatu’s wife was accompanied by women relatives and friends. They were all killed. Six other civilians who happened to be passing by were also murdered.
Familiar faces
Among those still at large is Datu Kanor Ampatuan, who allegedly led armed men in stopping the convoy of the victims and herding them to a hill where they were either gunned down or hacked to death and later buried in mass graves dug up by a backhoe.
Kanor is a first cousin and “best friend” of the primary suspect in the massacre, Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. He was also the “boss” of slain government witness Suwaib Upham, alias “Jesse.”
Roque said that only 120 witnesses, out of the total 520 listed prosecution and defense witnesses, had been presented in court. “So, we’re still at one-fourth in terms of the witnesses to be presented in the case.”
“Every time there’s a new suspect arrested, we have to present again our witnesses so that he could be identified. If you’ve attended the trial, you’d see that we’re presenting familiar faces. There’s no one new,” he said.
Roque said the prosecution also tried to convince Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to allow 30 major witnesses in the case to testify but only three of them were allowed to take the witness stand due to objections  from defense lawyers.

Second trial court
To hasten the trial, Roque urged the Supreme Court to assign another tribunal to hear the numerous petitions, motions, and countermotions filed by prosecution and defense lawyers.
“This is important so that Judge Reyes would be able to focus on the merits of the case and not be burdened by the numerous motions filed by defense lawyers,” Roque said.
He also urged the National Police Commission to rule with finality on the administrative cases filed against policemen involved in the massacre so that the Department of Justice could decide whom to retain in the list of accused.
“We need to trim down the number of accused because with 194 accused, we will not really finish this case,” Roque said.
“Even in the Nuremberg trials of Nazi officials, there were only 21 defendants although millions were killed in World War II,” he added.
Roque said that the number of accused could be trimmed down to just 35 “primary accused” to hasten the pace of the trial.
“If we don’t improve the current pace of the trial, we won’t finish this in 20 years. It’s going to take us longer,” he said.
Deeply disappointed
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), in a letter to President Aquino, said it was “deeply disappointed at your lack of meaningful action” on his campaign promise to address the problem of impunity.
The NUJP said the massacre trial was “moving with extraordinary slowness … a mockery that insults the memory of the dead and seriously questions the resolve of the authorities to see that justice is done.”
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, speaking to reporters after meeting with NUJP officials Thursday, blamed “dilatory tactics” of the defense panel for the slow proceedings.
“The problem is the penchant of the defense side to question the presentation of certain witnesses and file petitions in the appellate courts,” De Lima said.
“Considering the unique and unprecedented nature of this case, and the volume of the work still to be done, the speedy disposition of this case depends on the cooperation of all the parties involved,”  said Gleo Guerra, acting  Supreme Court public information chief.
Giving an update of the trial, Guerra said the trial judge had already held 264 hearing sessions and heard the testimonies of more than 100 witnesses so far.
She said that 35 lawyers, mostly public prosecutors, were actively prosecuting the case, as against 54 defense lawyers.
Hang the masterminds
Guerra said  307 motions and other matters had been filed or raised and that 204 of these had been resolved.
“As a result of these motions, 447 comments, oppositions, rejoinders and manifestations have been additionally filed. To date, the records of the case have reached 148 volumes,” she said.
In February, one of the accused, PO2 Hernani Decipulo, fell to his death at the detention center at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, where the trial was being conducted. Several witnesses have also been killed.
Editha Tiamson told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Thursday during a break in the hearing held twice a week that she was extremely upset that here had been “zero conviction” in the case that took the life of her husband, Daniel Tiamson, a driver for UNTV.
“The masterminds are already there! These smaller people, those in lower ranks, were just linked and are just as afraid as we are,” Tiamson said.
“We’re fine with just having the masterminds, the Ampatuans, convicted,” she said.
“If we wait for all of them to be arrested and arraigned, how long will that take? Where will we be then?” Tiamson demanded, saying that might even take 200 years. With reports from Christine O. Avendaño, Jaymee T. Gamil and AFP

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (11-23-2012)
newsinfo.inquirer.net/311433/n…

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Three years after the infamous Maguindanao massacre, we, Filipinos, are still on our quest for justice. We shall never forget their victims as we continue to put these aggressors to justice.

for a child without guilt, which there is no more...
:heart: Hamid Abu Younis Dagka :heart:


posted on Reset Italia by Doriana Goracci



A Palestinian child, Hamid Younis Abu Dagka, 13,
was killed today during an Israeli raid near Farahin,
to the east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza Strip.
The shots of the military have also caused some injuries.
With the aim of cutting down trees, eight Israeli armored vehicles,
including tanks and bulldozers, had already penetrated into Gaza this morning,
at the height of Khouzaa, always in southern Gaza, clashing with Palestinian fighters.
The shards of Israeli gunfire had wounded a 24-year old Palestinian close to Al Maghazi.
font: Nena News



Kufia, Singing for Palestine –  Al Aqsa Choir

Dream of white lilies
roads of singing
and a house of light
I want a good heart
and not a rifle...
I want a full day of sunshine
and not a moment
of a mad racist victory...
I want a full day of sunshine
and not tools of war...
Mine are not tears of fear
are tears for my land
I was born for the rising sun
not for what it sets...


Text taken from "O night let the prisoner ends his song" (anonymous)
and "I dream of white lilies" of Mahmud Darwish
Music Rocco De Rosa, Canio Loguercio, Rocco Petruzzi


by :iconsupport-gaza-aqsa:
Singing for Palestine
for a child without guilt, which there is no more...
:heart: Hamid Abu Younis Dagka :heart:

posted on Reset Italia by Doriana Goracci

A Palestinian child, Hamid Younis Abu Dagka, 13,
was killed today during an Israeli raid near Farahin,
to the east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza Strip.
The shots of the military have also caused some injuries.
With the aim of cutting down trees, eight Israeli armored vehicles,
including tanks and bulldozers, had already penetrated into Gaza this morning,
at the height of Khouzaa, always in southern Gaza, clashing with Palestinian fighters.
The shards of Israeli gunfire had wounded a 24-year old Palestinian close to Al Maghazi.
font: <b>


italian version
Canto per la Palestina
per un bambino senza colpa che non c’è più..
:heart: Hamid Younis Abu Dagka :heart:

pubblicato su Reset Italia di Doriana Goracci

Un bambino palestinese, Hamid Younis Abu Dagka, 13 anni,
è stato ucciso oggi durante un raid israeliano nei pressi di Farahin,
ad Est di Khan Yunis, nel sud della Striscia di Gaza.
Gli spari dei militari hanno provocato anche alcuni feriti.
Con l’intento di abbattere alberi, otto mezzi corazzati israeliani, tra tanks e bulldozer,
erano già  penetrati questa mattina all’interno di Gaza, all’altezza di Khouzaa,
sempre nel sud di Gaza, scontrandosi con combattenti palestinesi.
Le schegge di una cannonata israeliana avevano ferito un palestinese 24enne


on
:icondeviantitalia:
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