MANILA- The guilty verdict handed down on members of a powerful political clan over the grisly 2009 Maguindanao massacre is a glimmer of hope for Filipinos seeking justice, Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday as she hailed the much-awaited ruling.
"Hindi man naging madali ang proseso at mabagal man ang naging pag-usad ng kaso, ang hatol na ito ay nagbibigay sa atin ng pag-asa na posible pa ring makamit ang katarungan sa loob ng ating sistema ng hustisya," Robredo said in a statement.
(The process may have been difficult and long, but the verdict gives us hope that attaining justice is still possible in our judicial system.)
"Paalala rin ito sa atin na ang lahat ng kasalanan ay may panahon din ng pananagutan, kahit minsa'y matagal ang paghihintay. Ang batas at katarungan ay walang pinipiling pangalan, maski na ang mga nasa kapangyarihan," she added.
(This is a reminder to all of us that every wrongdoing has a day of reckoning, even if it takes some time. The law and justice knows no name, even of those in power.)
The Philippines on Thursday witnessed the landmark ruling on the decade-long Maguindanao massacre case which left 58 people dead, including 32 journalists.
Brothers Zaldy and Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr. were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years in prison without parole, according to the 761-page ruling, which was partially read in court.
Others who were convicted of 57 murders were Datu Andal Unsay Ampatuan Jr., Datu Anwar Sajid “Datu Ulo” Ampatuan, and Datu Anwar “Datu Ipi” Ampatuan Jr.
But Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan, who was out on bail and did not attend the promulgation, and Datu Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan were acquitted.
"Wala tayong nakikitang mas nararapat na katapusan sa kasong ito, na tinaguriang pinakamarahas na election-related violence at pag-atake sa mga mamamahayag sa ating kasaysayan," Robredo said.
(We can't see a more fitting end to this case that has been dubbed as the worst election-related violence and attack on journalists in our history.)