National Press Club issues statement congratulating CIDG on arrest of Anwar Sajid Ampatuan

August 29, 2012 10:19 pm 

MANILA, Aug. 29 — The following is the official statement of the National Press Club (NPC) on the arrest of Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, one of the suspects in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre:

"The National Press Club of the Philippines congratulates the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for the arrest of Anwar Sajid Ampatuan in Las Piñas City on Tuesday night.

The arrest of the 22-year-old Ampatuan, by far the 103rd suspect in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre in police custody, only shows that the long arm of the law will eventually catch up on the remaining suspects — 94 in all — in the killing of 58 people, 32 of whom were members of the media, in November 2009.

This feat should embolden the PNP leadership to do more for their task is still far from being accomplished. Justice will only be served when all perpetrators in this heinous crime are punished. Only when they are all brought behind bars can press freedom smile again.

But the PNP’s duty is one thing and prosecuting the suspects is another. All these sacrifices will be for naught if government and private prosecutors handling the massacre case would bungle it by letting each witness die one after the other. The Department of Justice (DOJ), therefore, should do more in ensuring the safety of the remaining witnesses in the case.

All these arrests will be in vain if there are no more witnesses who will testify against the Ampatuans.

The number of suspects arrested would be meaningless if there are no more witnesses to pin them down. The Witness Protection Program should be strengthened further to fulfill its mandate.

The death of one witness is one death too many. As witnesses fall one by one, the case may suffer its own demise. If the suspects are eventually freed, then none of us shall feel safe again ever." (PNA)



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