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Bishop leads Ampatuan massacre memorial

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes leads this year’s Ampatuan massacre memorial as he did in the past as shown in this file photo.

Sorsogon City- Bishop Arturo Bastes led the province-wide commemoration of the 10th year anniversary of the infamous Ampatuan massacre November 23.

The Sorsogon prelate urged all the parishes in the province to dedicate their masses to the victims of the gruesome incident which put the Philippines on top of the list as the most dangerous country for journalists.

In an interview with Bicol Mail the other day, Bastes asked the priests to pray for the victims and for the favourable decision on the case which has yet to be rendered by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221.

Solis-Reyes had asked for a one month extension for the issuance of the verdict, citing the voluminous records of the case that have to be reviewed.

The bishop lamented on the slow grind of justice in the country which had prolonged the grief and sorrow of the victims’ families.

“We hope that the court would hasten the resolution of the cases as it is now on the tenth year, justice delayed is justice denied,” he stressed.

The suspects would be judged here and in the after-life, the bishop said.

Bastes said the massacre continues to hound journalists in the country as it demonstrated the impunity by which criminals could easily escape prosecution.

“Media freedom is a hallmark of a vibrant democracy which all of us much protect as it has a direct impact on us all,” the bishop added.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines- Sorsogon Chapter (NUJP-Sorsogon) and the Sorsogon Organization of News writers, Announcers, and Reporters (SONAR) coordinated the commemoration of the anniversary with the out-going Sorsogon bishop.

The prelate had actively taken part in past years’ memorials of the massacre.

In statement, NUJP-Sorsogon and SONAR called on the judiciary to expedite the resolution of the case as well as other cases of media killings which continue to gather dusts in various courts.

They also appealed to the various investigating agencies to get their acts together in probing other cases of media killings even as they cited the immediate resolution of the killing of broadcaster Dindo Generoso in Dumaguete City earlier this month.

Generoso, 67, was driving to work at radio station DYEM when he was ambushed along the city’s Hibbard Avenue last November 7. He was the second Dumaguete City-based radio journalist to have been killed by unknown gunmen within the past two years. Edmond Sotoso was gunned down April of last year.

Investigation revealed that Generoso was shot dead by Police Corporal Roger Rubio who was assisted by a retired policeman identified as Glenn Corsame and Teddy Salaw, a civilian. Police, however, have yet to determine the motive behind the murder.

The Sorsogon media groups said media killings must be promptly resolved if the government is really sincere in its effort to protect journalists.

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