The mother of a journalist killed in an infamous Maguindanao massacre in 2009 says “sinister-looking men” are out to silence her.

Catherine Nunez, mother of television cameraman Victor who was killed in the 2009 massacre along with 58 people – most of them journalists – said the men were asking people for her whereabouts.

“Before, when suspicious people asked my neighbors if they knew me I managed to laugh it off. But now they have my picture, I fear for my life,” Nunez told ucanews.com.

She said men on motorcycles and in a pick-up truck have asked about her and were showing her picture in her neighborhood .

Nunez is among the more outspoken family members of those who were shot dead in the massacre. So far she has not sought official protection.

“This is the problem with drawn-out cases. Witnesses and relatives of victims are harassed and intimidated so that they will recant their statements or withdraw their cases ,” said JB Deveza, safety officer of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in Mindanao.

“Worse, they are killed before the government can arrest suspects,” he said.

To date, six potential witnesses in the massacre case have been killed.

Of the 196 suspects indicted in the case, only 98 have been arrested, while only 78 of those arrested have been arraigned.

These accused, many of whom are members of the influential Ampantuan clan in Maguindanao province, are all in custody awaiting trial.

Last week, the head of the prosecution team was replaced. Prosecutor Peter Medalle said he wanted to quit because he wanted to be with his family.

It was the second time that the head of the prosecution team has been replaced. In March last year, most of the prosecutors were replaced due to squabbles within the prosecution team.

The massacre on November 23, 2009 in Ampatuan, in Maguindanao is thought to be the worst case of election-related violence in the country.



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