The Paris-based press freedom advocacy group Reporters Without Borders expressed concern over the recent move by Department of Justice Alberto Agra to withdraw the murder charges against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan and his cousin Akmad Ampatuan. The two are among the members of the Ampatuan clan that had been charged for the murder of 57 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao last November 23, 200. The victims included 32 members of the media who were covering the filing of the certificate of candidacy of Ampatuan’s political rival, Ishmael Mangudadatu.
Media groups denounce decision of Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to drop the murder charges against Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan in connection with the Maguindanao Massacre.
JUST a few weeks after the Maguindanao massacre, thin and frail-looking Margie Pusanso came knocking on the door of Freddie Solinap, publisher of the Koronadal-based weekly Periodico Ini, to ask for her old job back.
Margie had worked briefly as a part-time reporter, before leaving for what she thought were greener pastures as a call center agent. But now, Margie wanted back in.
THERE WERE 30 and not just 27 reporters and media workers who were killed in a manner brutal beyond description in Maguindanao, last Monday November 23.
The 30 media workers comprise more than half of the 57 confirmed casualties of what is now known as the Maguindanao Massacre, according to a list compiled and verified by the Humanitarian and Fact-Finding Mission of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), a network of independent media organizations, including the PCIJ.
THERE was a time my colleagues at the PCIJ threatened to print shirts that said “I am not JJ” in front and “Neither is she my friend” at the back.
The (hopefully) feigned betrayal stemmed from the stories I was writing at the time about the Ampatuan clan, how its members wielded power, and the sorry state of public education in the province of Maguindanao.
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