Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao and the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines
hold an indignation rally condemning the Ampatuan Massacre
Click here for more indignation rallies
Cagayan de Oro City
November 27, 2009
Members of the Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao joined the group of the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines in an indignation rally condemning the deaths of lawyers, journalists and other unarmed civilians in the Maguindanao Massacre. The Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao is currently holding its 3rd Mindanao Assembly in Cagayan de Oro City. Lawyer-members of UPLM, Atty. Concepcion Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo were among the victims of the carnage last Nov. 23.
These 6 photos are from the Facebook account, We Condemn the Maguindanao Massacre
|Photos courtesy of NUPLM|
November 27, 2009
PRESS STATEMENT References: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, KARAPATAN Chairperson
November 28, 2009 Mobile Number +63917 561 6800
Emmi de Jesus, Gabriela Women's Party
Mobile Number +639173221203
Girlie T. Padilla, Tanggol Bai
Mobile Number +639088941870
On the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, we call on the Filipino people to stop the killings, stop human rights violations; end the murderous US-Arroyo regime!
“If they can kill lawyers, (they can) practically (kill) anybody. If they can kill judges where cases are pending then they can do that to ordinary people.” – Atty. Connie Brizuela, (UPLM))
November 29 is designated as International Day on Women Human Rights Defenders. Today, as we in KARAPATAN, the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, Gabriela Women’s Party and Tanggol Bai observe this day, we pay tribute to women human rights defenders killed under the Arroyo regime; especially the two fellow women human rights defenders who lost their lives along with 25 journalists and several other civilians in what is now called the Ampatuan Massacre.
Atty. Connie Brizuela was a member of the Union of People's Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) and the Gabriela Network of Professionals in North Cotabato. A small but feisty human rights lawyer, she took the cases of the abused and marginalized, including cases of violence against women. She did so in the midst of various death threats to her life. Her body was found among those massacred in Maguindanao, her face beyond recognition.
Another lawyer, Atty. Cynthia Oquendo was no stranger to the plight of poor Filipinos; she was a Gabriela Youth organizer as an undergraduate student, in San Carlos, Cebu and after graduation, practiced law in her hometown in Polomolok, South Cotabato. She was believed to have been raped along with the rest of the 22 other women victims of the gruesome carnage in Maguindanao. Her life was snuffed at a promising age of 35.
Filipinos are no stranger to the arrest, detention, torture, disappearance and brutal killings of human rights defenders in this country. Since 2001, human rights violations were tolerated and unpunished which has led to a culture of impunity among the violators. Warlords have been emboldened by their smug closeness to the national leadership that has condoned and encouraged these killings, to commit a bloodbath like the Maguindanao massacre.
Under the US-Arroyo regime, there are 1, 115 victims of extrajudicial killings, 50 are women human rights defenders; 10 of them were disappeared out of the 203 victims of enforced disappearance while 61 have suffered illegal detention out of the 1,934 victims of the same violation.
These brutal killings and gross and systematic violations committed by the US-Arroyo regime are engendered by its mad and criminal counter-insurgency program called Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). OBL will supposedly end the insurgency in the country. But this program has been the bloodiest and most vicious counter-insurgency plan unleashed by a Philippine president who ironically happens to be the second woman to assume the position. OBL lumped together the armed resistance fighters and the unarmed legal activists and leaders of people’s organizations as “enemies of the state” and “front organizations” of communist groups so that mere labeling of individuals has led to their eventually being killed or disappeared.
Police, military and paramilitary groups such as CAFGU’s, CVO’s and CAA’s have been mobilized and deployed in OBL-identified priority areas that registered high incidence of killings and other human rights violations.
On the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, let us honor the memories of our fellow human rights defenders who have selflessly given their lives and worked hard to defend the rights of our fellow Filipinos, especially the poorest and the voiceless people of our land. On this day, we raise our fists and shout, “Justice to the women human rights defenders killed, disappeared, tortured and persecuted! Justice to all victims of human rights violations! Stop the killings, stop Oplan Bantay Laya! End the murderous US-Arroyo regime NOW! ###
National Union of Journalists
of the Philippines (NUJP)
Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
In solidarity with the victims of the Maguindanao massacre,
Interfaith group calls on the Moro and non-Moro masses
to unite and defeat the culture of impunity
25 November 2009
The Moro-Christian People’s Alliance (MCPA), a national interfaith organization advocating for the recognition of the Bangsamoro people’s struggle for land and right to self-determination, extends its deepest sympathy to the families and relatives of the victims of the mass murder in Maguindanao.
The MCPA holds the Arroyo regime accountable for the mass killing of more than 50 people including women, lawyers and media practitioners in Maguindanao last November 23. It is highly outrageous that the massacre happened in broad daylight and in a place where there is a strong military and police presence.
The province of Maguindanao, a province in the poorest and underdeveloped Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in southern Philippines, has long been in the grip of the feared and untouchable warlord Ampatuan clan, suspected perpetrator of the mass murder. Despite having been accused as corrupt, land grabber and responsible for the many documented and undocumented serious cases of human rights violations in Maguindanao, the Ampatuans enjoy the political support of President Arroyo. The Ampatuan’s notorious private armies are being cuddled by the AFP and the PNP and are allied forces in the counterinsurgency campaign in the province.
The forcible abduction and mass killing of a group of people composed of majority women, media and human rights defenders in the Ampatuan-controlled Maguindanao who wished to exercise their democratic rights and fundamental freedoms, was clear indication of the deepening culture of impunity that is being promoted under President Arroyo’s fascist rule.
The big number of women victims in the Maguindanao massacre likewise showed one and all that having a woman President does not guarantee safety and protection for women. In war-torn Mindanao, the Bangsamoro women suffer the most serious forms of human rights violations such as internal displacement, rape and killings.
The Maguindanao massacre is not an isolated incident. Nor it will be the last gruesome crime to happen in Mindanao. The prevailing culture of impunity will breed more Ampatuans; political warlords who will ensure and safeguard Arroyo’s hold to power in extremely vicious ways and forms.
MCPA demands no less than President Arroyo to render swift justice to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and urgently takes on the following actions:
the massacre and relieve their respective commanding officers;
Finally, MCPA calls on the Moro and non-Moro masses to unite and stand in solidarity with the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and all victims of the culture of impunity. The culture of impunity is a vicious attack on the people’s civil and political rights. It must be stopped. It must be defeated.
Human Rights Program
Moro-Christian People’s Alliance
Mobile Phone: 09152844654
Human rights group decries
justice for lawyers and all other victims of Maguindanao Massacre
END IMPUNITY, JUSTICE NOW!
Connie and Cynthia joined
several family members of Vice Mayor Ishmael Mangudadatu of Buluan and
approximately 40 other people, including journalists, to the government
Commission on Elections office in Maguindanao, in the Autonomous Region of
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). They were going to file Mangudadatu's candidacy
for governor in the 2010 elections. It has been reported that 100 armed
men stopped the group's convoy on a remote section of highway near the
town of Ampatuan where they were abducted and brutally murdered. There is
also evidence that some of the victims were sexual assaulted.