Hoisting cardboard coffins and photos of the dead, protesters demanded justice Friday for scores of people gunned down three years ago in the Philippines, a politically charged case now stalled in its courts.
Former provincial Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. has been accused of masterminding the slayings of 57 people, who were en route to declare the candidacy of his political rival before they were killed and thrown into mass graves. He denies the charge. The massacre victims included 32 journalists who were covering the election, the deadliest attack on the media recorded by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Almost half of the 196 suspects are still at large. Though Ampatuan and several others in his powerful political clan are in custody, the Philippine justice secretary laments that the defense has thrown up delaying tactics to slow the cases. Nobody has been convicted so far.
“We have time and again made our plea to the judiciary to expedite the process,” said Edwin Lacierda, spokesman for President Benigno Aquino III.