November 17, 2017

Calls for apprehension of remaining suspects

THE National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) is set to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the infamous 2009 ‘Ampatuan Massacre’ on Thursday, November 23 with a benefit concert to aid the families of the members of the media who were among the 58 victims.

Dubbed, ‘Konsiyerto Para sa Katarungan, Ikalawang Yugto’ performers of the concert would also come from the ranks of media practitioners who have musical talents. Venue of the event is at the ‘Bambu Intramuros’ located inside the NPC compound in Manila.

“As we again commemorate this tragic day for Philippine journalism, we call on the public and our media colleagues to support this benefit concert.

“By doing so, we not only help those in need but more importantly, we also remind everyone that we continue to hold high the banner of press freedom and justice despite the passage of years,” said NPC Pres. Paul M. Gutierrez of the Journal Group.

Gutierrez noted this would be the second year the NPC opted to stage a benefit concert to remember the event with the aim of helping the families of the remaining members of the press who continued with their fight for justice.

Of the 58 massacre victims, 32 of them were members of the press, Gutierrez noted.

“The NPC has purposely decided to focus its attention in helping alleviate the situation of the families of our murdered colleagues who are still continuing the fight for justice as we recognize the efforts of the Duterte administration to protect the ranks of the Philippine media with the formation last year of a presidential task force to protect the members of the press,” Gutierrez explained.

Gutierrez was referring to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) formed by Malacañang with the signing last October 11, 2016, by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte of Administrative Order (AO) No. 1.

Last Friday, November 17, 2017, the NPC and other media groups composing the task force was given a briefing of the cases filed against the Ampatuan clan and their supporters by Department of Justice (DOJ) assistant secretary Juvy Manwong during a meeting at the task force’s new office inside the Malacañang compound.

During the meeting, Gutierrez called for the members of the task force to assist the authorities in the apprehension of the remaining 82 suspects who are still at large, according to the DOJ.

Manwong, for her part, added the prosecution has already rested its case and that it is now the turn of the defense to present its evidence and witnesses.

During last year’s commemoration, the NPC managed to raised P50,000 thru a benefit concert. The amount was then divided equally among the families of fallen journalists.

Since the 2009 incident, the NPC continues to support the education of the child of one of the fatalities, Andres Teodoro of Mindanao Inquirer/People’s Forum. ###


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