The Philippines and the rest of the world are commemorating today, November 23, 2010, the first year after 57 persons were killed in the town of Ampatuan, province of Maguindanao in the most brutal manner one can imagine.
With this, the memory I dread the most riots in my mind and they cannot go out of my head.
For being a human being and a journalist, it is too hard to resist the urge of expressing my disgust about the incident—and the people who perished in that incident—and let my cry for justice reverberate. I feel obliged to do so in honor of my heroes for without the clear contrast their brutal deaths have presented the people and the world could have not seen the indispensable importance the role journalists play for the community. Just imagine the world without reporters!
This I do due to my debt of gratitude to them that I cannot pay for a lifetime.
This I do although I am aware there is this ongoing trial.
This I do without any intention to influence the judge handling the trial. I believe, though, that no matter what I say here, the judge, according to the myth in the legal community, is trained in the science of law to be not affected by bias, whims, caprices, lure of money, monstrosity of fear, and desire for promotion.
So I plead this.
I plead this with the thought I am the prosecuting attorney delivering my closing arguments before the jury of 12 men chosen by raffle from the voters’ list to decide the questions of fact of what really happened in that storied Maguindanao Massacre.
And when I plead, I use the evidence presented thus far in the ongoing trial and those I think will be presented by the prosecutors. Assuming further that the Ampatuan attorneys cannot find any evidence to the contrary, these proofs are more than sufficient to declare Ampatuans are guilty.
Rest assured, however, I believe in Voltaire, the man who said this immortal words: “Strike! But hear me first.”