Mother of Maguindanao massacre victim will not back down

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines –  A mother of one of the victims of the infamous Maguindanao Massacre which took place on November 23, 2009 slammed the government for the slow judicial process, but she said she would continue to wait for the dispensation of justice.

The Maguindanao Massacre is one of the deadliest incident of electoral violence in the country that killed 58 people, including journalists and media workers. 

Katheryn Nuñez, mother of UNTV senior reporter Victor Nuñez, said Friday, November 23, that she would not back down in their search for justice for her son. 

The Nuñez family are residents of Cagayan de Oro and in 2010 unknown gunmen fired at their house in Villanueva town.

Nuñez said that their quest for justice for the victims will continue as long as she breathes, “I will not back down, I will not give up on my son,” Nuñez said. 

Victor was just 24 years old when he was murdered along with 57 others in Masalay hills, in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.

Nuñez said that even if there is just one conviction, she will consider it as a victory against the perpetrators, the powerful Ampatuan clan.

“I want Andal Ampatuan convicted, that is what I want,” Nuñez said. (READ: DOJ confident in case vs Andal Ampatuan Jr as trial nears ‘endgame’)

Nuñez added that a lot of people tried to persuade her to give up and consider the monetary offer in exchange for dropping the case, “They said I should give up, that my son is already dead, he will not come back, but I will not,” Nuñez said.

Nuñez blamed the government for failing to give immediate justice. “Had the suspect been poor, he would have been killed, but the suspects are rich and influential,” Nuñez added.

Cagayan de Oro Press Club president Rufino Magbanua said that the COPC renewed its stand that the government is accountable to its human rights obligation to see that justice is served.

“We obligate our government to ensure equal and effective access to justice as well as provide the Maguindanao massacre victims with prompt justice,” Magbanua said.

“The slow pace of the trial not only has delayed delivery of satisfactory sanctions and reparations but has led to credible fears of non-cessation of violence and repetition of violations as seen in the deaths of witnesses and relatives of victms,” Magbanua said.

“Nine years on, there are still no convictions. The failure of providing effective and swift justice is already a serious denial of human rights,” Magbanua said.

Magbanua said "that the government has allowed fear, violence and killings to continue with impunity in the province where members of the Ampatuan clan are accused of having brazenly used police personnel and government equipment in killing and burying 58 persons in a manner that is oblivious to government reprisal is tantamount to not just failure by omission but that of preserving conditions for systematic violations of human rights.” 

A total of 188 people were accused in the massacre, 2 have died while in detention and 18 are still on the run. –