PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to deliver justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and their families, Malacañang said Friday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte had a “cordial, candid and impassioned” meeting in Malacañang Thursday night with the relatives of some of the victims.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met with the families of the victims in Malacañang, where he assured them that justice will be delivered under his watch,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, now 18 years old, the son of a journalist who was killed with 31 other media workers and 27 more people in the massacre eight years ago on Thursday asked the soldiers to use the martial law in Mindanao to arrest the remaining suspects who are still at large.
At the commemoration rites on Thursday at the site of the massacre on Nov. 23, 2009, Mark Jhoy Duhay, son of the late Jhoy Duhay of the Mindanao Gold Star daily, pleaded for justice and asked the soldiers and policemen joining the commemoration rites to use the opportunity offered by martial law to bring about justice for all the victims of the bloodbath.
“To our brave soldiers, since martial law is still active, can we use that power to capture the remaining at-large suspects who killed our love ones,” Duhay said.
While Duterte said the right of the accused to be heard as “sacred,” he also “expressed optimism” that the case would lead to a verdict favorable to the victims
Roque said Duterte instructed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who is also chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security and Task Force executive director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, and the state prosecutors handling the case “to see to it that a conviction would be handed down to the principal accused the soonest time possible.”
Thursday marked the 8th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre that left 58 people dead, including media workers.
Duterte, according to Roque, also instructed Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Christopher Go, to arrange employment, scholarships and financial assistance for the families.
“In return, the families expressed their profound gratitude to the President, who responded by saying that he is just fulfilling his duty as president to meet the ends of justice,” Roque said.