It remains vivid in my memory that piercing piteous cry I first heard from Myrna Reblando, the widowed wife of slain journalist Bong Reblando, among the dozens of journalist and media workers massacred in that infamous Maguindanao massacre on that fateful day of November 23, a decade ago.
Visiting that lonely secluded hill in Masalay village in Maguindanao, Myrna stood on the very spot where her husband was among the dozens found sprawled on the ground, bodies riddled with bullets. It was at least the very same spot her husband must have sighed his last breath. Family members and friends of the 58 people who perished on this country’s worst political violence go on a yearly pilgrimage to this particular site to pay their respects to the fallen loved ones.
So to my imagination, Myrna purposely just stood there for what seems like an eternity, when everyone else, who joined on that visit had already started to move out to go home. But she didn’t budge when someone urged her to move.
She stood there fixated, alone in her thoughts, then she let out that searing cry akin to a cry of an injured puppy looking for help. But only the wind carried her cries to nowhere, forever lost. She didn’t mind, she had to let out that unspeakable anguish that had consumed her. That day was an opportune time for her to let out the floodgates of emotion that had bottled in the core of her soul. Never mind that her shriek was almost that of an animal, she just had to let it go if only the soul of her dead husband could hear.
I kept a considerable distance from her to give her that privacy as she grieved. It was a moment alone with her husband who was never coming home again with her.
Ten years of agonizing and waiting for Lady Justice to grind her wheel. Principal suspects of the once powerful Ampatuan clan that lorded over the Maguindanao province were meted a guilty verdict along with dozen other suspects. Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes, rendered the decision with impartiality and neutrality.
May the souls of the 58 people who perished on that day can now find their peace, now that those responsible for their untimely deaths had been meted with justice. But let’s go back to business of the living. Some would say there is no closure yet to this nightmarish episode in our country’s history as long as the 80 other suspects who remained at large are not arrested.
Other pundits also suggested that it is about time we take a closer look on our laws, such as perhaps passing the anti-dynasty law. There ought to be a lesson learned that family members in wholesale occupation of public office in their localities ought to be discouraged as this foster abuse, corruption and perpetuate unfettered violence, beyond the reach of law. (Dennis Jay Santos, email@example.com.)