SoCal Pinoy journalists commemorate fallen colleagues in Maguindanao massacre

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 25, 2013

CARSON, Calif. – The crime happened four years ago but for U.S.-based Filipino journalists, it only seems like yesterday when 58 people, including 32 journalists covering a local election in Maguindanao, Philippine, were believed to have been massacred by a local political dynasty’s private army.

Over a hundred were charged in the crime believed to have been orchestrated by the Ampatuan family. Yet no convictions have taken place.

President Benigno Aquino III has said he wants the trial to wrap up before his term ends in 2016.

“The president has promised justice will be served, but for four years, the justice system has been grinding so slowly,” Arturo Garcia, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines –U.S. Chapter said.

Filipinos from throughout Southern California joined Emmy- award winning animator Jess Espanola and elected local officials in remembering the deceased.

Author and former Balitang America anchor Ben Pimentel showcased his latest book “How My Sons lost their Tagalog.”

“With this book, which came out in July, I decided the royalties would go to a fund run by the NUJP for the education of the children of slain Filipino journalists, and specifically for the children who were affected by the Ampatuan massacre,” Pimentel said.

Journalists also remembered four local reporters who were killed while covering the deadly typhoon Yolanda earlier this month.

The NUJP said these deaths are a reason they are fighting for better protection for Filipino media workers.

“We’re organizing so we have pressure to put on the Department of Justice and also to spread awareness of what’s going on in the Philippines,” said Nimfa Rueda, NUJP-US Chapter, said.

But justice may continue to drag in the Maguindanao massacre.

While 197 suspects have been charged in the crime, only 108 of them have been arrested.

You can contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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