By Raymund Antonio
No one is exempted from the rule of law and justice.
This was how Vice President Leni Robredo described on Thursday the conviction of two Ampatuan brothers and 26 other accused in the Maguindanao massacre case.
Opposition leader Robredo said the conviction of Datu Andal Jr., Zaldy Ampatuan, and other members of the Ampatuan clan gives “hope” to Filipinos that justice can be served in the country.
“Paalala rin ito sa atin na ang lahat ng kasalanan ay may panahon din ng pananagutan, kahit minsa’y matagal ang paghihintay. Ang batas at katarungan ay walang pinipiling pangalan, maski na ang mga nasa kapangyarihan,” she said.
(This is a reminder to us that there is a time for accountability for all of those who commit offenses, even if sometimes the wait is long. No one is exempted from the rule of law and justice, even those who are in power.)
“Mahigit sampung taon matapos ang trahedya, tila isang napakalaking tinik ang natanggal sa ating mga puso. Masalimuot man ang naging paghihintay, ngunit ngayong araw, nasa panig ng tama at matuwid ang tagumpay,” Robredo added.
(More than 10 years after the tragedy, it is like a thorn was removed from our hearts. The wait may have been difficult, but today success is on the side of what is right and just.)
Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes sentenced the Ampatuan brothers to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years imprisonment without parole.
They were convicted of 57 counts of murder for the massacre of 58 people, 32 of whom were journalists, in November 2009 in Maguindanao. This is considered the single worst incident for journalists in world history.
Robredo has joined the families of the Maguindanao massacre victims and the Filipino people in celebrating this historic verdict.
Read more: 43 convicted in Maguindanao massacre