MANILA, Philippines - Women's group Gabriela held a picket at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday to mark the 3rd anniversary of the gruesome Maguindanao massacre and International Day to End Impunity.
Armed with placards that demanded an end to impunity against women and children, Gabriela called on the DOJ, through Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, to speed up the resolution of pending cases involving violence against women and children.
Of the 58 Maguindanao massacre victims on Nov. 23, 2009, some were women journalists and female members of the Mangudadatu clan.
The protesters lamented the "slow pace" of preliminary investigations being conducted by the DOJ on these cases.
Gabriela also lamented how the Aquino administration has "tolerated" abuses against women and children, and lashed out at government's "Oplan:Bayanihan" counter-insurgency campaign.
"Sa halip na maglapat ng hustisya sa mga biktima ng mga krimeng kinukunsinti ng gobyernong Arroyo, ipinagpatuloy lang ni Presidente Aquino ang walang habas na paghahari ng lagim ng military, mga warlord, at death squad na gumagahasa at umabuso sa kababaihan at kabataan," Gabriela secretary-general Joms Salvador said in a statement.
Salvador said families of victims against these crimes continue to seek their support. The latest case referred to them was the case of a 15-year old girl who reportedly went mentally unstable after having been allegedly raped by soldiers inside a Camp in Tanay, Rizal, and another minor female from Lobo, Batangas who was allegedly raped by his CAFGU uncle.
Gabriela urged government to not only exert efforts to attain justice for the victims, but to also secure their witnesses and kin.
"Katulad ng mga biktima ng Ampatuan masaker na pinagbabantaan ngayon, ang mga pamilya ng bikima ay pinagbabantaan din para iurong ang kanilang mga kaso," Salvador said.
The protesters, totaling at least 50, were also joined by women members of Migrante International.