GENERAL SANTOS CITY– Families of the journalists, who perished in the infamous Maguindanao massacre 11 years ago, are still pinning their hopes on the final resolution of the case despite the conviction of some of the principal accused in the case last year.
Relatives of the slain journalists commemorated on Monday the 11th anniversary of the gory incident wherein 58 people, including 32 media workers, were executed and buried in shallow graves in the outskirts of Ampatuan town in Maguindano by gunmen belonging to the Ampatuan political clan on November 23, 2009.
Elliver Cablitas, husband of news reporter Maritess Cablitas, one of the journalists killed in the massacre, wanted a final resolution of the case in order for them to avail of the civil damages that will be paid by the convicted accused to indemnify the families of the victims.
Cablitas, president of Heirs of 11/23 Heroes, an aggrupation of families of local journalists who died in the massacre, said their group was wary of the petition filed by some groups, led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) that asked the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare the Maguindanao massacre case as unresolved despite the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court which tried and convicted the several principal accused in the case led by Andal Ampatuan Jr. And his brother Zaldy Ampatuan, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Cabitas and several local media organizations in the Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City (Soccsksargen) region came out with a manifesto that was sent to the UNESCO to reconsider its declaration to classify the Maguindanao massacre case as unresolved as it might jeopardize the resolution of the case based on the court decision which convicted and sentenced several principal accused to life imprisonment.
He said their group also sought the reconsideration as it might jeopardize their claims for civil damages which the court ordered the convicted accused to pay for each families, ranging from P350,000 to P2.5 million.
Cablitas lamented that the petitioners, led by the NUJP, did not get the consensus of the victims’ families when they made their appeal before the UNESCO last September to classify the Maguindanao massacre case as an unresolved case.
He said the victims’ families were hoping for the final resolution of the case so that they get the indemnification for civil damages from the convicted accused who also appealed the decision of their case before the Court of Appeals.