Various groups condemn the Maguindanao massacre

and demand justice for all victims


Click here for more indignation rallies


Quezon City


November 24, 2009




Atty. Connie Brizuela, one of the 46 victims of the Maguindanao massacre: as peace advocate and activist human rights lawyer





November 24, 2009

We grieve over the death of Atty. Concepcion ‘Connie’ Brizuela, a member of our board of convenors, who was among the many victims of pre-election violence in Maguindanao province November 23.

Our heartfelt sympathies go to Connie’s husband and children who have supported her advocacies through the years as former legal counsel of the Diocese of Kidapawan, as peoples’ lawyer, and as a woman human rights defender.

Connie’s killing, along with at least 35 civilians mostly journalists, political supporters, including another lawyer colleague, is a carnage that requires the Arroyo government to muster all its resources and political will to bring the suspected Ampatuan warlord clan to face the law.

We demand no less than for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to end her political patronage of the Ampatuan warlord clan and all her armed political allies elsewhere in the country whose rule is forced on their constituencies through fraud and terrorism.

We demand no less from government than to bring justice to all those fallen by this senseless political violence.

However, we believe that this pre-election violence should be seen from the wider perspective of the culture of impunity that prevails under the present dispensation. Government cannot claim this as another isolated and containable incidence of violence, much less as merely an election-related one.



Yesterday’s massacre was spawned by a culture of impunity that has long been kept unchecked by a government that is now widely perceived by the international community to be tolerant or approving of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations.

This culture of impunity imperils the exercise of the legal and media profession in the country and the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms including the right to suffrage.

We can only surmise that, as a lawyer, Connie must have asserted herself as part of the negotiating panel to ease the tension or to remind their would-be attackers of the rule of law, if any such dialogue could have occurred at all. We are certain as well that Connie, having been a broadcaster herself, and her companions, had thought that a horde of media practitioners and the presence of women would deter any act of violence against their party.

But because of the culture of impunity in this country, these have become mere notions.

The unchecked rule of political warlords like the Ampatuans, army and police units like those controlled by President Arroyo’s mistahs, and warmongers in government like General Hermogenes Esperon and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, make up a culture of tolerance for killings and contempt for the rule of law. Thus, this culture of impunity traces itself right back at the doorstep of Malacañang.

Connie had been at the forefront of the campaign against impunity. We are outraged that it has caught up with her through this tragic and gruesome death. We will miss her. She was a gentle but firm and determined human rights advocate. In her diminutive frame loomed large a feisty peoples’ lawyer and human rights defender undeterred by the rich and the powerful in Mindanao.


For reference:



The compañeros of the two murdered lady lawyers demand justice

for all the victims of the Maguindanao massacre



Philippines a dangerous country for lawyers
Law group strongly condemns killing of its two lawyer-members

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) strongly condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrible act of brutal killings of innocent civilians including its two lawyer-members, Attys. Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, and scores of women and journalists in Maguindanao yestesday.

Penal books are not enough to depict the horrifying mass slaughter of innocent civilians, much less the state of mental perversity of their executioners in the commission of such a gruesome act.

Lawyers are essential agents of the administration of justice, and journalists are an institution in a civilized society. If lawyers and journalists are brutally murdered while in the performance of their duties, and in broad daylight at that, democracy is dead, plain and simple.

Malacañang must see to it that it knows how to accord justice to the hapless victims, especially in this case where military reports disclosed that the mastermind is its closest political ally in Mindanao, the Ampatuans. All government resources must be brought to bear on the Ampatuans. Otherwise, Malacañang itself would tolerate lawlessness and violence. The private army of the Ampatuans must be instantly disarmed and placed under immediate custody and investigation, and all their firearm licenses immediately revoked.

Malacañang’s tolerance of warlords greatly contributes to the persistence of the culture of impunity in our society. Since 2001 and prior to the Maguindanao massacre, 22 lawyers and 15 judges in the country have already been murdered and not a soul was put in prison by the authorities, and this earned the present administration the dubious distinction of having the most number of lawyers and judges killed.

These extra-judicial killings of lawyers and journalists must be put to an end. We demand in the strongest possible manner that justice be accorded to the innocent victims, particularly to our panyero, Attys. Brizuela and Oquendo. We demand justice, no more, no less.#

Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag





Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan
Can equal the gruesome massacre

Reference: Atty. Pet Melliza, P.R.O., NUPL Iloilo Chapter

NUPL-Iloilo denounces Ampatuan massacre

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Iloilo chapter (NUPL-Iloilo) joins the kins, loved ones and concerned Filipinos in their grief and rage on the senseless and brutal massacre of the innocent in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, much so because two of our compañeras, Atty. Connie Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo were among the victims.

Heavily armed men at around 9:30 am, November 23, abducted at Brgy. Salman, Ampatuan and massacred members of the convoy to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao where Genalyn Tiamzon Mangudadatu was to file the certificate of candidacy of her husband, Buluan town vice mayor Ishmael Mangudadatu.

We call on the government, particularly, its security forces in Maguindanao to bring the perpetrators of that revolting crime to justice.

The senseless loss of lives could also be blamed on the government. The massacre was perpetrated by followers of a suspected warlord which is allied with the ruling Lakas-KMPI-CMD of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The boldness of the perpetrators in carrying out the carnage is but an offshoot of the Arroyo administrations strategy of nurturing the culture of impunity since 2001.

The killings of activists which reached 1,000 since 2001 and of journalists, 56 minus the recent 12 casualties, in the same period, happened because of the culture of impunity that the Arroyo administration fosters.

We call on the government to investigate local security forces for their seeming inaction to protect the Mangudadatus before and after the bloody incident. The Mangudadatu who seeks the gubernatorial post of Maguindanao had sought PNP and Army for personnel to escort the convoy to the provincial capital but was turned down.

The murderers did not even consider that the persons whose lives they ruthlessly snuffed out were women, journalists and lawyers. At least 12 of the fatalities were journalists as confirmed by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

Two of the victims are legal counsel of the gubernatorial candidate, namely: Attys. Connie Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, both members of the Union of People's Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) and also of the NUPL.

Not even Iraq nor Afghanistan could equal the senselessness of murdering such number of journalists and lawyers in a single incident.

The casualties could hit over 50 as the search for the bodies of other victims continues. Some were buried in scattered places with the use of the backhoe of the Maguindanao provincial government.

We condole with the survivors, their kins and loved ones of the massacre.

(Sgd.) Atty. Joshua Alim

November 24, 2009

Photos from Yahoo Reuters


National Executive Committee
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
25 November 2009

Arroyo Regime must be condemned for Maguindanao massacre
and impunity of the Regime's favored warlords

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemns in the strongest possible terms the barbaric massacre of two outstanding people's lawyers, Atty. Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo, dozens of journalists, and other civilians in Maguindanao on 23 November.

Identified as the direct perpetrators of this heinous crime are the Ampatuan warlord clan, Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel, paramilitary CAFGU personnel, and other armed men of Ampatuan's private army.

The Ampatuan warlords' armed contingent of more than 100 abducted the convoy accompanying the wife of Buluan Vice Mayor Ishmael Mangudadatu and her family who were on their way to the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, to file the certificate of candidacy of Ishmael Mangudadatu for governor of Maguindanao.

The ruling Ampatuan warlord clan in Maguindanao has long enjoyed the favor and protection of Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the police, military and paramilitary forces of the regime for delivering huge majorities in the 2004 and 2007 elections through massive fraud and brutal force. The impunity accorded by the corrupt and brutally oppressive Arroyo regime to the Ampatuan clan and other favored political fiefdoms has given them license to commit atrocious acts against the people in order to perpetuate themselves in power. It is highly irregular and scandalous that while the massacre was going on, Andal Ampatuan, governor of Maguindanao, and Zaldy Ampatuan, governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), were in Malacañang “for an emergency meeting”!

The NDFP vigorously condemns not only the direct perpetrators of the monstrous massacre but even more so the Arroyo regime for criminally cultivating the culture of impunity for its cohorts, in order to cling to power.

The NDFP holds Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her regime accountable for this massacre that deserves the outrage of the Filipino people. This massacre is the latest atrocious act, further aggravating the regime's accountability for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, frustrated killings, torture, and the uprooting of millions of people since 2001.

The NDFP demands an immediate end to the reign of impunity. It demands that all those responsible for this monstrous crime and other gross and systematic violations of the human rights of the Filipino people be brought to justice. The people must rise in outrage against this regime, the Ampatuan warlord clan and other cohorts of the Arroyo regime.

Member, NDFP National Executive Committee



Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

CPP condemns massacre in Maguindanao

November 24, 2009

The Communist Party of the Philippines expressed today its utmost condemnation of the massacre of a convoy of at least 40 people in Maguindanao, mostly relatives, lawyers and supporters of Buluan vice mayor Datu Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu who is challenging the warlord Ampatuan clan's hold on the governorship of Maguindanao province. Among those killed was mayor Mangudadatu's wife, Genalyn, and at least 12 journalists who were covering the convoy.

So far, 24 bodies have already been found in shallow graves in Salman village near the massacre, many of them mutilated. Most of the victims were women and have signs of having also been sexually abused.

The CPP said that the large number of journalists killed in the incident has made it the biggest massacre of journalists in a single day. More than ever, it puts the Philippines among the worst countries in the world for journalists to work and live in.

The victims were intercepted en route to the COMELEC provincial office in Shariff Aguak to file Esmael Mangudadatu's candidacy. Witnesses relayed that Shariff Aguak Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. himself was in command of around 100 armed men, including Maguindanao police forces and the Ampatuans' private goons, who committed the kidnapping and massacre. The younger Ampatuan plans to succeed his father Andal Sr., as Maguindanao governor but is presently facing a formidable challenge from the Buluan vice mayor. Witnesses also relayed that Esmael's sister, Mangudadatu Mayor Eden Mangudadatu, was even involved in a brief melee with Mayor Ampatuan before the convoy was overcome by the superior force of the attackers.

"While Malacañang had no choice but to officially 'condemn' the blatant massacre," said the CPP, "it is now in a serious quandary on how to handle the case. The Ampatuan clan, which had been stifling opposition and marshalling 'command' votes to favor Gloria Arroyo and her allies in the past elections was repaid with the governorship of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao as well as of Maguindanao and the mayorship of many towns in the province. Malacañang now wants to take advantage of the incident by declaring 'emergency rule' in the province."

While singling out the feudal warlord Ampatuan clan leaders, their goons in the Philippine National Police as well as their own private army and their close ally Gloria Arroyo as particularly responsible for massacre, the CPP also condemned in general the violence that has always marked traditional Philippine electoral politics.

"Worse, in recent elections where the progressive forces have increasingly participated in parliamentary politics, it has been the leaders, campaigners and members of the progressive parties and candidates who have comprised the big majority of the victims of the violence of reactionary politics. Much of this violence is being committed by government military forces themselves," the CPP said.

Marco Valbuena
Media Officer
Cellphone Numbers: 09156596802 :: 09282242061




Press Statement

November 23, 2009

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) condemns in the strongest terms the recent election-related violence in Maguindanao province which claimed the lives of 36 people, including members of the Mangundadatu family, their supporters and staff, 2 lawyers and several journalists. The abduction and killings were so brazen that it has shocked everyone, even those in Malacanang. The massacre was indiscriminate and was carried out with utter disregard for the law by apparently powerful and influential forces. We condemn in particular the killing of women, lawyers and journalists.

A swift and impartial probe must now be conducted and the perpetrators of this heinous crime must be brought to justice. The full force of the law must be made to bear on the killers.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo must not let her political association with the Ampatuan family stand in the way of a speedy and impartial investigation into the incident. The national government must step in and enforce the law since the local police is not likely capable of conducting an impartial probe or may be vulnerable to pressure by the powerful political families in the province.

We support the call for the disarmament and dismantling of private militias in the area which have long existed but have been seemingly tolerated by the government. The national government can no longer turn a blind eye to the long-standing problem of warlordism and violence in the province.

Those public officials being linked to the killings must now be relieved or must take a leave of absence in order to give way to an impartial probe. The Philippine National Police leadership in the province should also be relieved.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner was quoted as saying the 100 men who staged the abduction were allegedly led by Mayor Datu Unsay Ampatuan and one Police Senior Inspector Dicay of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Shariff Aguak. This serious allegation involving local government and police officials should also be looked into.

If it is proven that the Ampatuans are involved in this incident, then Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s association and support for them will be placed in the spotlight once again. The Ampatuans have become a powerful political clan because of its quid pro quo with the Arroyo administration come the national elections. There have been countless accounts of how elections are rigged in the province to always favor the admnistration.

Warlordism and violence are now the norm in Maguindanao. It seems that the Arroyo regime has created a monster it can no longer control. ###




by Alexander Martin Remollino


Your people's will is a mangled corpse.
Its parts are scattered across your fields and streets,
its blood splattered across your fields and streets --
feasted upon by creatures
with insatiable greed for power
and thirst for blood.

What creatures these,
that gorge themselves with the corpse and blood
of your people's will?
To say they are monsters
is an understatement.





November 24, 2009
Media Release

KAWAGIB to government: ‘resolve the issue’ not State of Lawlessness

Cotabato City-KAWAGIB-Alliance for the Advancement of Moro Human Rights here condemns on its highest term the massacre of civilians including 2 human rights lawyers Atty. Conie Brezuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquindo, members of Union of Peoples Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) and 12 identified journalists yesterday in Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao.

KAWAGIB demands the Arroyo administration to punish the perpetrators of the barbaric massacre and put an end to the violence in Maguindanao. However, the group is dismayed and don’t agree with the statement of Jesus Dureza to declare “State of Emergency” in Maguindanao.

“this will not resolve the issue, instead it will only worsen the situation if they will disarm all people in Maguindanao. We caution that such declaration may be used against legitimate armed groups and issue will be diverted”, the group said.

Failure of the Arroyo Administration to resolve the problem is mere tolerance of violence and culture of impunity.###



24 November 2009

Justice for the Victims of the Maguindanao Massacre!

The Kilusang Mayo Uno joins the Filipino workers and people in condemning the election-related massacre in Maguindanao that has killed more than 30 people.

We cry for justice for the victims and their families. We also cry for justice for the Filipino workers and people, whose sense of decency and security has been unjustly assaulted by this senseless act of violence. We call for the immediate and impartial investigation into this case, as well as the swift punishment of those responsible for it.

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as de facto president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, should take the lead and show both impartiality and resolve in investigating this crime and punishing its perpetrators. Based on her record of issuing pardon to well-known criminals from wealthy and influential families and of coddling the most nauseous local traditional politicians, it appears that Mrs. Arroyo’s motto is: No ally is too small or too disgusting to break ranks with. The Filipino workers and people demand that she break away from this motto in handling this crime.

This event does not augur well for the coming elections. Because of the extreme puppetry and fascism of the Arroyo regime, the Filipino workers and people are clamoring for change, even in the local levels. The Maguindanao massacre shows us one possible response to this clamor for change from those in wealth and power – violence. We therefore take this incident as a warning to candidates who are pushing for change – including and especially progressive candidates and party-lists – about what’s in store in the coming months in the run-up to the May 2010 elections.

We warn the US-backed Arroyo regime: Do not use this massacre as an excuse for bringing in more US troops and prolonging their stay in the country. Do not exploit the people’s clamor for justice to advance US military interests in the country and in this region of the world. Punish the perpetrators of the crime, not the Filipino workers and people with the death and destruction that go with US troops and bases. Punishing the criminals does not necessitate the entry and prolonged stay of US troops and bases, only the political will of the government which can only spring from a sense of justice.

We call on the Filipino workers and people to translate their disgust and condemnation into action. We have to push the Arroyo regime to seek justice for the victims and the nation. We have to show the perpetrators of this crime as well as other private armies and the military that we are neither cowed nor rendered apathetic by these events. We have to prevent the Arroyo regime from exploiting this crime to further its anti-people ends as well as those of its US imperialist master. Let us denounce and renounce warlordism and election-related violence as well as the old-type politics in the country.

Reference: Lito Ustarez, Executive Vice President, 0908-6491992





Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
NCCP Compound, 879 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines
Mobile Number: 09289526973 E-mail:
CONVENOR: TANGGULAN Youth Network for Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Statement Calling For Justice For The Victims Of The Maguindanao Massacre

November 24, 2009

The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, an ecumenical group of Christian youth and students, calls for justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, claiming no less than 36 lives including lawyers, journalists and women.

We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and say our prayers so that they may find solace in the midst of a very difficult time for their families. We grieve with the children who lost their mothers. We honor the lawyers and members of the media who lost their lives in the line of their duty and profession. We are enraged even more that all of them are civilians who faced extreme fear, possible abuse and death in the hands of the perpetrators.

We demand an immediate investigation to bring the perpetrators to the bars of justice, however powerful they may be and whatever connections they may have. There should be an end to the culture of impunity which prevails over the country. The lives claimed in this bloodbath should not simply be added to the thousands of victims of political killings who still long for justice. We appeal to those who have possible information leading to the brains of the killings not to fear and aid in the search for justice for the victims.

With still six months prior to the 2010 elections, we witness the first possible election-related violence unparalleled in recent history. While we condemn this brutal act, we appeal to the people for heightened vigilance. We all aspire for genuine change. This change, however, may be halted by those who want to stay in power and protect their vested interests in government office. This time needs for us to solidify our ranks, people of Maguindanao and elsewhere, to stop any possible attempt to trample our right to life and dignity, as well as our continuing clamor for change.

The Arroyo government has failed again and again not only in protecting the people, but in accounting for the human rights violations under its reign. The power now dwells upon the collective action of the people. Let us not leave no stone unturned in our quest for justice, whether under this regime or beyond. ###

Reference: Ma. Cristina Guevarra, National Chairperson (0918-6106275)



24 November 2009
RP could be ‘most murderous country’ for journalists

Maguindanao massacre an act of political barbarism - CEGP

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the oldest and widest alliance of student publications in the country denounces in the strongest possible terms the brutal killing of more than 30 individuals Monday morning in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao. Many of the victims were media men in the call of duty.

The incident only shows the gross incompetence of the Arroyo administration in protecting the lives of its citizens against lawless elements especially unarmed members of the media.

We fear that the killings of journalists and cases of election violence will escalate this election year, with the Philippines replacing Iraq as the most dangerous country for members of the media.

We call on our member publications and all freedom-loving Filipinos to condemn this political barbarism by holding indignation protests, candle lighting and other symbolic activities in their schools, work places and communities.

CEGP President



Press Release
24 November 2009

Migrante chapters, Muslims members in the Middle East condemn horrible massacre of civilians, women, lawyers, and journalists; will hold indoor interfaith prayer for the victims

Chapters and member-organizations of Migrante in the Middle East along with its Muslim members today strongly denounce the barbaric massacre of civilians, women, lawyers, and journalists in Maguindano the other day, and join the calls of providing swift justice to the victims by putting behind bars the perpetrators and mastermind of the most horrible crime this year.

“It is really a sad moment for our fellow OFW-Muslim brothers and sisters that during Eid Al-adha this horrible crime had happened, worst as those involved were from two warring Muslims clans in Maguindanao,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said Muslim members of Migrante in the Middle East conveyed to him how they felt hearing the horrible news from Maguindanao.

Binang Jiliano, a Muslim welfare case officer of the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangang (KGS), an affiliate of Migrante in Riyadh, said along with his fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, he condemned the massacre and urges the Arroyo government to provide swift justice to all the victims.

“Muslim brotherhood, faith and unity should not be destroyed by one’s thirst for power and political ambitions,” Jiliano added.

Jiliano conveyed to his fellow Muslims not to allow themselves to be controlled by the present administration’s political machinations dividing Muslims using one against the other in order to easily rule them.

Monterona said KGS and Migrante along with its Muslim members will lead an indoor interfaith prayer for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre on November 27, a Friday, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and at the same time express their strong condemnation to the brutal killings of innocent civilians, women, lawyers, and journalists.

“Migrante-Middle East, Muslim OFWs and their families joins the Filipino people in demanding from the Arroyo government swift action to put behind bars the masterminds and perpetrators of this gruesome massacre though the alleged culprits are her political patrons in Maguindanao; the Arroyo govt. must put an end to the prevailing culture of imputy which flourished under her regime as numerous cases of political killings and disappearances in the country have been recorded,” Monterona ended. # # #

Justice for all the victims on Maguindanao massacre!

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle-East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012



November 24, 2009

Youth solon calls for vigilance against election-related violence

Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino today condemned in strongest terms the brutal and senseless killing of 36 civilians, including members of the Mangundadatu family, 2 lawyers and several journalists, in Maguindanao.

“What happened was a very gruesome and horrible event. We, especially the youth, are enraged and urged to up vigilance against election-related violence. The stakes for a clean and honest elections have intensified," Palatino said.

"We call on the present government to immediately investigate and punish those responsible for this carnage. We will also support all independent investigations by media and human rights groups and concerned citizens,” he said.

Kabataan Partylist, together with youth and student groups, today lit candles for the victims and held an indignation rally at the Scouts Monument, Timog Avenue and a campus assembly in UP Diliman condemning election related-violence.

“The violence perpretrated by warlords and power-hungry politicos can discourage and send a chilling effect especially to millions of young voters. We challenge the present government to do everything and leave no stones unturned in resolving these murders," the young solon said.

At the same time, the youth solon also challenged the 2010 presidentiables to denounce the first political mass murder of the election season and to swear in public that they will not engage in election-related violence to ensure electoral victory.

“We have yet to hear from our presidential aspirants. As the leaders and standard bearers of their respective political parties, they should direct all their members to avoid using goons and guns. Our leaders and candidates should make effort in ensuring that the Maguindanao murder would be the last” Palatino said.

Palatino said he will file a resolution in Congress to investigate the recent murder. ###
Office of Rep. Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino
Temporary Office at 3rd Floor, Main Building
House of Representatives, Batasan Complex, Quezon City

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino
Mobile: 09085927099
JM Ragaza, Media Officer, 09166947806




Statement of Tayo ang Pag-asa on the Maguindanao Massacre
November 24, 2009

As of this writing, more than 40 bodies have been recovered from the site of massacre in Maguindanao. Media organizations have so far reported around 20 journalists killed, some of them freelance, along with two lawyers and the relatives of Ismael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao. Other accounts say the women were raped, some were tortured, and all 50 persons in the convoy were killed in one fell swoop by a hundred hired goons.

The mass killing is a result of a long-held political feud between two warlord clans, the Ampatuans and Mangudadatus, both of which have private armies at their disposal.

It is bad enough that private armies can roam the streets with impunity, intercepting at will and in broad daylight those who wish to challenge the powers-that-be which they serve. In fact, since 2004, local and international organizations have pointed to the culture of impunity that afflicts the country, making possible political killings, graft, and corruption, among other crimes.

This time, however, the madness and senseless brutality of the killings brings the country to a new low, even in the context of the culture of impunity. The obstruction of those whose sole agenda is to register candidacy, a right that is most basic to democracy, compounded by the indiscriminate killing of journalists and unarmed citizens, tell of the utter lack of laws and principles that are the bedrock of any democratic system. That a local warlord can hire up to a hundred armed men, that in the first place warlordism is well and alive in parts of the country with ties that reach as high up as Malacañang, tells of a system that obeys barbarism more than it does justice.

Tayo ang Pag-asa therefore condemns in the strongest possible terms the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre. The incident brings to 20 the number of journalists killed in the line of duty this year, possibly making Philippines the most dangerous country for journalists in the world over. This brutality calls for nothing less than collective outrage and the most strident calls for justice and immediate punishment of the perpetrators.

Tayo ang Pag-asa also calls attention to the alleged ties of the Ampatuan clan to Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who in the 2004 and 2007 elections had landslide victories in areas controlled by the Ampatuans. In 2007, in fact, Arroyo’s Team Unity garnered a 12-0 vote in Maguindanao, a score which even experts say is a “statistical impossibility.” Undeniably, the Arroyo regime is complicit in the lawlessness that afflicts Maguindanao. Tayo ang Pag-asa therefore demands accountability from both the president and the warlord allies she has coddled.

There is much to be done for this semblance of a democratic system, where the vanguards of democracy – media persons and the citizenry – constantly face threats to their lives even in the exercise of their duties and civil rights.

If anything, the senseless loss of lives underscores the need to pursue a government that is not beholden to any individual or group except the public, that is able to punish the perpetrators with immediacy and political will, and that can guarantee all the rights of every citizen, including the right to life.

Tayo ang Pag-asa is a recently-formed youth movement for social change.
For queries, contact Alvin Peters (09206209362), president, National Union of Students of the Philippines.#




Please forward
November 24, 2009
Jollene Levid, GABNet Secretary-General
Tel: 323-356-4748


AF3IRM/GabNet condemns the murder of some 50 persons in Maguindanao, Philippines, including some 14 women, who appear to have been raped as well, and scores of media people. It is ironic that at the start of 16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women, the Philippines should once again make news around the world for an act so vile it boggles the mind.

AF3IRM/GabNet condemns the continuing tolerance of and for petty feudal clan dynasties which are antithetical to the country’s claims of democracy. Feudal clan dynasties make a mockery of Philippines’ self-characterization as a republic and reveal its barbaric political structure as nothing more than fiefdoms controlled through violence and suppression.

AF3IRM/GabNet holds the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo responsible for this climate of impunity toward the murder of journalists, political rivals and political critics. This administration has become the quintessential expression of lawlessness, power-addiction and violence that characterize puppet governments who rule through violence and against the consent and allegiance of the people. Warlordism has become rife in the country as Macapagal-Arroyo continues to allow her allies to build private armies, steal and loot from the public treasury, kill all those who dissent and consider themselves so coddled by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration they deem themselves to have the divine right to power by virtue of violence. OUST GLORIA NOW!

AF3IRM/GabNet demands absolute justice for the victims and punishment for all those responsible, including members of the Ampatuan clan who have been named as having committed and/or ordered this massacre. Let us not tolerate once again the historic pattern of political killings in the Philippines where masterminds get away scot-free while the hirelings are thrown under the bus by their overlords.

AF3IRM/GabNet notes that this unprecedented act of murderous barbarism occurs at a time when the United States has entered the Mindanao region in support of the Macapagal-Arroyo government, and that violence has escalated in the region since this incursion. US HANDS OFF MINDANAO AND THE PHILIPPINES!

And lastly, AF3IRM/GabNet reminds our Filipino brothers and sisters of the Islamic faith of this verse from the Holy Qu’ran: “And the servants of Allah… are those who walk on earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say ‘Peace.’”
Jollene Levid
Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization and Marginalization/GabNet