MANILA, Philippines — The National Press Club (NPC) and the Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (AFIMA) denounced the abduction and massacre of at least 36 persons, including media men, in Barangay Masalay, Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force 211 will reportedly send “neutral” investigators to the province to conduct a probe on who were responsible for the massacre of a gubernatorial bet’s wife, relatives and supporters as well as media men who were on duty to cover the filing of his certificate of candidacy.Buluan town Vice Mayor Ishmael Toto Mangudadatu said his wife Genalyn, two of his sisters, his lawyers, several relatives and supporters, as well as media men were blocked by 50 to 100 armed men, snatched and killed, while they were on their way to file his certificate of candidacy for governor of Maguindanao on Monday morning.
NPC president Benny Antiporda said in a statement, “The incident came as a humiliating slap on the face of efforts to put an end to the culture of impunity that has caused the deaths of scores of journalists.”
“While we mourn and sympathize with the families of the victims of this dastardly act, we give special concern to members of the press who were killed. There is no word strong enough to describe this barbarism,” the NPC president stressed.
He urged the government to leave no stone unturned in delivering justice to the victims.
“The harshest of punishment should be leveled against the suspects, regardless of their political and personal standing,” Antiporda said, adding that the National Press Club would extend assistance to the families of the media victims.
He revealed that he and members of the Gabriela, have decided to join a team of the DOJ Task Force 211, to be dispatched to Maguindanao to investigate the massacre.
TF 211 is a special unit of the DOJ created to look into media killings and is headed by Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor.
Apart from the formation of a fact-finding team, Antiporda called on members of the media to join an indignation rally on Tuesday evening, which will start at around 6 p.m. from the press office at the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Kamuning Station 10 along EDSA.
Antiporda urged all participants in the march to Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo to wear black. “We want justice for these victims and we do not want a cover up on this,” he said.