MANILA - The conviction of several police officers in the Maguindanao massacre is a "wake up call to all policemen" to shun ties with politicians who use state troops as "political war dogs," former police chief and now Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa said Thursday.
At least 54 police officers were tagged as culprits in the Philippines' worst election-related violence where 58 people, including 32 journalists, were strafed and buried in a shallow grave in Ampatuan town in 2009.
About a third of the accused police were sentenced to 6 to 10 years in prison for serving as accessories to the crime masterminded by members of the once powerful Ampatuan clan.
Several members of the political family were found guilty and sentenced to reclusion perpetua or 40 years in prison without parole.
"It is a wake up call to all policemen that their duty is to serve and protect the people and not to be used as political war dogs of the corrupt and godless politicians," Dela Rosa told ABS-CBN News.
"Sana hindi na maulit muli," he said.
(Let's hope it won't happen again.)
Police officials who were convicted for taking part in the carnage should have received longer jail terms, political analyst Edmund Tayao told ANC.
"For me, it's an aggravating circumstance that they are officers of the law and they are part of this grisly massacre," he said.
"Justice is served" for the victims, but institutional reformation should take place to avoid similar incidents in the future, the analyst said.
"It is very far from perfect, there is so much more to be done," he said.
"We should also press our authorities to introduce institutional reforms as we proceed," he said.
The Senate will be more vigilant and draft laws to combat criminality, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said.
"Hindi natin hahayaan pang maulit na mangyari ang ganitong trahedya," he said.
(We will not allow a similar tragedy to happen again.)