“Aquino’s ‘tuwid na daan’ is a road to impunity” – CEGP

November 22, 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Marc Lino Abila

National Deputy Secretary General

Charina Claustro

Media Officer

Campus journalists conducted a paperplane flying activity at 11 a.m. today to commemorate the

Noynoy Aquino

Noynoy Aquino

third anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre and to signify that press freedom “must not be pinned on the ground by human rights violations.”

Around 200 paperplanes “flew” over the barbwired fences at Mendiola – a symbolic action led by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the widest and oldest alliance of student publications in the country. “Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, the single deadliest event for journalists in the country. Still, no justice has been served for the 58 victims, 32 of which are journalists. The chances of delivering justice are getting dimmer as the case proceeds in a slow pace,” said Marc Lino Abila, deputy secretary general of CEGP.

The CEGP is now conducting a National Day of Action in commemoration of the Maguindanao Massacre, with the chapters all over the country conducting their own activities.

“More witnesses had to be listed under the Witness Protection Program, as around six individuals connected to the case were killed. The defense panel had succeeded to block the presentation of some evidence and had filed 130 motions stalling the proceedings,” said Abila, adding that as lawyers and journalists estimated, the case could take thousands of years before it was resolved.

“The Massacre is a manifestation of the prevailing climate of impunity in the country, which continues even under a term that promised genuine change. Under President Benigno Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan, the counter-insurgency program, there have been 114 victims of extra-judicial killing and 70 victims of torture. This shows that Bayanihan is not really ‘humanitarian’ as claimed by Aquino and that the only different between Bayanihan and Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya are the free circumcision, free dental check-ups, and other activities that were only used for surveillance,” said Abila.

“The international community has slammed the Aquino administration for its incompetence in resolving cases of human rights violations. Aquino himself was ignorant of the historical role of the media as shown in his statements berating the journalists who were just doing their job. Given these conditions, it is not surprising that another massacre of such a scale will happen again,” said Abila.

“The government, and the powerful who think that they can easily dispose of human lives, should remember that the will to practice freedom of expression will never be suppressed,” said Abila.

###

fritter.ernestine@mailxu.com