The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the
Philippines (NUJP) in expressing its outrage at the murder of yet another
witness to the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan
massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, in the
southern Philippines island of Mindanao.
Lawyer Nena Santos, who
represents the family of Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, who lost his
wife, sister and other relatives in the carnage that also claimed the lives of
32 media workers, said the brutalized body of witness Esmail Enog had been
found in Mamasapano town, two months after he had gone missing.
His murder comes two years
after that of another key witness, Suwaib Upham.
Relatives of witnesses have
also reported being been attacked, threatened, offered bribes and harassed.
Enog, a brother of Rakim Amil,
one of the 100 massacre suspects who have been arrested and detained, had
testified that he drove 36 of the accused, four of whom he identified, to the
massacre site in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman.
Reports say he returned to
Maguindanao after testifying, having refused to be enrolled in the government’s
witness protection program.
“To ensure a fair and just
trial of those charged with the Ampatuan massacre, it is crucial that the
Philippines government protect the safety of all witnesses and their families”,
IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqui Park said.
“The IFJ joins the NUJP in
demanding that Philippines President Benigno Aquino III order a full
investigation into Enog's murder, and the reasons for the failure to ensure his
“We further support NUJP’s demands
that President Aquino order the state’s security and law enforcement agencies
to arrest all the remaining massacre suspects who remain at large.”
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
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