Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, Police Regional Office-12 spokesperson. (File photo courtesy of PRO-12)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Police authorities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) assured on Friday that they are ready to provide security to the families of Ampatuan massacre victims in case they receive any threats.

Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said all their units may be tapped anytime to render necessary protection to any threatened family member of the victims.

Capellan said they may seek assistance at the nearest police station should they notice suspicious personalities or movements that could potentially endanger them.

The assigned chiefs of police were mandated to immediately assess or validate the threats and initiate the needed interventions, he said.

Capellan said local police stations and their intelligence units will monitor possible movements and activities related to the matter.

“Rest assured that we are here, ready to protect and provide them with the necessary support them,” he said. “That is our mandate – to serve and protect everyone."

The police official said they understand the situation of the families of the Ampatuan massacre victims and the concerns for their security following the promulgation of judgment on Thursday against the principal suspects in the grisly Nov. 23, 2009 killings.

At least 28 suspects were convicted for the killing of 57 people, including 32 media workers, in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao. Among those found guilty were former Datu Unsay, Maguindanao mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. and brother Zaldy, the former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

But 55 others, mostly policemen previously tagged as accessories, were acquitted by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.  

Following the promulgation, the victims’ families said they felt threatened by the numerous acquittals.

“It’s a real concern since there’s a possibility that they will take revenge for what had happened,” said Jhan Chiene Maravilla, daughter of slain Bombo Radyo Koronadal chief reporter Bart.

Fr. Rey Carvyn Ondap, executive director of the Passionist Center for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, echoed such concern and urged authorities and local government units to address the matter.

Of the 32 slain journalists in the massacre, 12 are from this city and buried side by side at the Forest Lake Memorial Park here. (PNA)