What Now?: Ampatuan’s death and the Philippine Justice System and Journalism

With the death of one of the masterminds in the single deadliest event for journalists in history, comes the death of hopes of the families of the 58 victims desperately seeking the light of justice for nearly six years.

Andal Ampatuan Sr., 74 years old, passed away last week after being in a comatose state in five days at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute after suffering a heart attack, perhaps because he’s battling advanced stage liver cancer in the past few months. He is one of the catalyst of the said brutal incident and have been charged multiple counts of murder and other criminal liabilities but managed to stay innocent until his death.

Him being free from his criminal liabilities just proved that the justice system here in the Philippines is really slow, perhaps non-existent. It also shows what a politician who is hungry of power can do just to have his throne unchanged, no matter how desperate it is, and still get away with hands clean. Now, the justice that the families are searching for six years is gone, with the wind along with blood that is spilled in the site of the incident.

Improving the justice system in the country can help prevent a second Maguindanao Massacre. The reason why they did such thing is because they know they can get away, they know that the justice have no fangs for them to be in agonizing pain when caught, and whenever they will be sentenced guilty, they can still experience the joys of life considering that the process here is slower than a snail. A change for a more strict, power-imposing, punishing justice system is the key for the perpetrators to cowardly wag their tail and never do such things again.

Also with his death, media has become more vulnerable, knowing that their job is now more deadly than before, as the power-seeking politicians can easily blow their heads whenever they come against his/her way. With due respect to the dedication of the mediamen who risk their life just to exercise democracy, giving them the thing they deserve is worth doing for. They needed safety, and safety will not be present unless there will be a strict implementation of the law to back up for. We will never risk another journalist’s life just because the law is not worth abiding for.

With Ampatuan Sr. being discharged of his criminal liabilities, one question now troubles everyone, “Now what?”. What will be the next step? Will there be more massacres like this? And even if they can still charge him with civil cases, it is not enough, it is not the brightest of the justice flames the families of the victims are longing to have. It is now over, but it is not too late. Making the law more harsher and imposing will prevent another bloodshed to happen, and another journalist who will fall. Perhaps, with this, the death of the 58 men will not be in vain.

About Freight

A college student who likes to persuade and make a stand.
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