MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday the government is determined to see the granting of complete justice for the people killed in the Maguindanao massacre five years ago.
”The government is determined to see the granting of complete justice,” Coloma said in a press statement as the country commemorated the anniversary of the gruesome killing of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province on Nov. 23, 2009.
Coloma said the Department of Justice (DOJ), along with other government agencies and the private sector, is working hard to pin down the culprits.
”The case is a litmus test of the Philippine justice system. It is the prosecution’s aspiration that we achieve convictions of at least the principal accused during this administration. That is the President’s challenge to the Department of Justice,” Coloma said, quoting a statement from DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima.
Coloma said the government is also pushing massive reforms in the justice system to finally end the famous saying “justice delayed is justice denied.”
”A slow move of justice is unacceptable to our people,” Coloma said.
The PCOO official assured that the government would not stop from pushing the case and from giving protection for free expression “which is the important advocate for significant democracy.”
He said the Palace was saddened by the killing of Dennis Sakal, an alleged former aide of Maguindanao massacre suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr.
Sakal, who was ambushed, reportedly would have turned witness in the trial against the Ampatuan clan if he was able to sign an affidavit.
”The killing is now being investigated and we are saddened by this incident because it is important to have a credible witness,” Coloma said.
Coloma said the DOJ has already presented 147 witnesses during the trial and the defense is planning to present 300 more witnesses.