A Vigil

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Just in time to remind me of how bourgeois and mundane my problems actually are, at least 58 people died 44 months ago this week in the worst case of election-related violence this country has ever seen. Nobody has been sent to prison for their deaths.

Danilo Arao, a Journalism professor at UP, says as many as 70 may have been killed in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao that day but evidence could only be matched to 58 people.

In any case, at least 58 families have had to wait upwards of four years for closure that might never come. One widow hardly goes out of the house now. She’s afraid. For her life, obviously. But she’s also afraid that she might die without getting justice for the death of her husband, a journalist from Davao.

The story I filed for VERA Files:

44 months since Maguindanao: The wait continues

By JONATHAN DE SANTOS

THE widows wore red, and not the black of mourning. “This doesn’t mean we are happy,” they said. “This shows we are still brave.”

The two were Cipriana Gatchalian and Ramonita Salaysay, both of whom lost their husbands in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009. Last Tuesday, they and other human rights activists gathered at the lobby of the University of the Philippines College of Law to mark the 44th month since the Massacre.

As they gathered, they talked about President Benigno Aquino III wrapping up his State of the Nation Address the day before, saying it felt good to be a Filipino, listing his administration’s accomplishments and laying down the legislative agenda for the 16th Congress. [Read more here]

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