Election season, more often than not, is a controversial time for any country. Campaign jingles on the radio, candidates’ shady debates on television, and at times, election-related violence (ERV) in the news. And in 2009, one of the most—if not the most—brutal ERVs occurred; 58 civilians, family members, and members of the media were killed in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre. The incident is also considered as the “single deadliest event for journalists” in history, with at least 30 media people killed.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the massacre, and up until today, families of the victims have been calling for justice. But this morning, Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes finally heeded their call—she handed down the guilty verdict onto 42 of at least a hundred accused. According to some, it’s a historical judgement because the primary suspects are prominent politicians, and it doesn’t usually happen that prominent people are found guilty of heinous crimes.
A win for the country
The verdict on this 10-year-long case is just one of the wins for our justice system in recent times. With the rampant extrajudicial killings relating to the administration’s War on Drugs, people have been losing hope in the country’s judiciary. At least 10,000 people have been unlawfully eliminated in the war on drugs, members of the LGBTQ+ community slain—and the perpetrators are still allowed to walk around free.
Aside from the Maguindanao Massacre verdict, several other triumphs in giving justice for victims of heinous crimes have happened. One of the significant victories is the conviction of police officers involved in the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, who was accused of being involved in drugs. The three police officers charged were found guilty after two years of investigations and hearings.
With the closure of the these infamous cases—which have had favorable results—people are seeing that there we can still depend on the judiciary to provide justice for victims of crimes.