Indignation rallies against the Ampatuan massacre,

prayers and lighted candles for the victims


Iloilo        Cebu City      Gabriela Davao    UP Diliman Community   Cagayan de Oro   


Nov. 24 pickets/rallies     Salute to Atty.  Connie Brizuela


Posted:: November 28, 2009


Video clips on the Ampatuan massacre



Davao City
Iloilio City Cebu City


College Editors and journalists offer candles and prayers for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre.
Iloilo City

November 26, 2009

▼ Photos by Rommel Depasucat (Biboy Pedrajas), CEGP Negros Secretary General.  ▼



Press Statement
27 November 2009



By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples' Struggle

The International Coordinating Committee and all member-organizations of the International League of Peoples' Struggle condemn with all their moral conviction and strength the monstrous massacre of at least 57 people, including many women and children, 29 journalists and two human rights lawyers, in Ampatuan, Maguindanao last 23 November 2009.

The abominable crime against humanity was perpetrated by the private army of the Ampatuan ruling clan in collaboration with units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army (PA). The private army consists of armed units designated as Civilian Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU) and Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVO), subsidized by public funds and operating as auxiliary paramilitary units of the PNP and PA.

The Ampatuans are governors of both Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM and include a cabinet undersecretary, congressmen and several town mayors . They have maintained their dominant warlord status because they are aligned with the Arroyo regime and have delivered to it large numbers of fraudulent votes in the 2004 and 2007 reactionary elections. Thus, they are allowed to oppress and exploit the people and crush with armed force any opposition.

But it is not enough to see only the relationship of the Arroyo ruling clique and the Ampatuan ruling clan in Maguindanao or even the rotten and violent character of the entire oppressive ruling system in the Philippines. The official designation and government financing of the Ampatuan private army as CVO and CAFGU paramilitary auxiliaries of the PNP and PA are in line with the national internal security plan called Oplan Bantay Laya. This has been designed and directed by the US under its global war of terror policy.

The structure of reactionary violence and human rights violations in the Philippines has several levels, including those of the US, the puppet Manila-based government and the local tyrants like the Ampatuans. The US has been the most culpable for whipping up state terrorism and vigilantism by local tyrants and by army and police commanders unter the pretext of combating communists and Muslims who are unjustly labeled as terrorists.

The US is the imperialist master that has dictated upon the Arroyo regime to adopt and implement Oplan Bantay Laya and use the regular armed forces, the police and the paramilitary forces of the Ampatuan type to suppress the national and democratic rights of the people. Along the way, the puppets use their armed power to intimidate and kill their intrasystemic political rivals.

The US has provided the doctrine of warfare against the people and supplied the military equipment and training and other wherewithals of the reign of terror. It has embedded advisors, trainors and operatives within the reactionary armed forces and has deployed its own units in Mindanao and elsewhere to ensure puppet obedience to its imperialist dictates.

Together with the Manila-based puppet government, local tyrants like the Ampatuans and all their military, police and paramilitary minions, the US is culpable and condemnable for pushing state terrorism and the gross and systematic human rights violations and emboldening the human rights violators to commit their crimes with impunity under the pretext of combating terrorism. ###


In a land that is familiar to violence by foreign aggressors and local tyrants, the recent massacre of at least 57 people in Ampatuan municipality, Maguindanao Province, Philippines still managed to shock and outrage the Filipino people as well as the rest of the world.

A convoy of journalists, lawyers and women relatives of Esmael Mangudadatu, a local politician contesting the governorship of Maguindanao Province, were en route to file registration papers for the May 2010 elections on the morning of November 23, 2009 when they were abducted and executed by over 100 gunmen. Twenty-four of the victims were women, some of whose bodies were later found mutilated. At least 28 journalists were also killed in the attack which the Reporters without Borders described as the worst loss of life in the history of journalism.

The perpetrators were allegedly led by Andal Ampatuan Jr., the Mayor of a nearby town and son of the incumbent Governor of Maguindanao, who was being groomed to take over his father's position. He was assisted by senior police officials, local police and paramilitary forces who function as a private army of the Ampatuan clan. A backhoe registered to the provincial government was even on hand to bury the victims in pre-dug common graves.

Clearly the Ampatuans consider themselves untouchable because of their loyal ties to the incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who has deliberately created a climate of impunity for human rights violators and mass murderers in the Philippines. Since her ascent to power in 2001, over 800 extra-judicial killings have been committed in the country, including 51 incidents of massacres victimizing a total of 255 persons. Not one has been punished for these vilest of crimes.

In the case of the Ampatuan massacre, it took four days before the principal suspect was taken into custody and only after intense public outcry for justice. The Arroyo government's initial response was to declare a state of emergency in the province which would be enforced, of course, by the local state apparatus controlled by the Ampatuans.

The Ampatuan clan is a prime example of feudal-fascist warlords who are coddled and nurtured by the national ruling clique in order to secure their hold over local populations and resources. The Ampatuans are among the most loyal vassals of the Arroyo ruling clique and responsible for orchestrating the electoral fraud in the region through which Arroyo has kept herself in power.

It was Arroyo who gave the Ampatuan clan the authority to recruit and arm civilians to assist in fighting "insurgents" in the region. As a result, the Ampatuans now have a 500-strong army, which includes 200 special armed civilian auxiliary forces, as well as entire regular military and police units assigned to ensure the security of the clan members.

These local warlords and their "armies", particularly in Mindanao, are not only interwoven with the national security apparatus of the ruling classes, they are also backed by the US imperialist state which has a special interest in Mindanao. The US military considers Mindanao strategic for its force projection in this part of the world. It maintains military facilities in the island in direct violation of the Philippine Constitution. It has conducted at least seven military exercises in Mindanao since 2001, poured millions of military aid and has trained local security forces to enhance "inter-operability" with US troops.

The USAID has funded tens of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects throughout the region to support US military operations and US investors in the regiTo accomplish their objective of securing strategic resources, facilities and suppressing revolutionary and democratic challenges to US interests in the region, the US necessarily works with the local state apparatus and allies with feudal-fascist rulers such as the Ampatuans.

Given the intimate ties of the Ampatuans and other fascist criminals with the US-Arroyo regime, there is no reason to expect that any fact-finding body or investigation initiated by the corrupt, oppressive and brutal government will be credible or will bring justice to the victims of massacres and other human rights violations in the Philippines.

The ILPS calls on all freedom-loving peoples of the world to denounce the Ampatuan Massacre and all other extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, to demand an independent probe of these killings; and condemn the Arroyo government for coddling mass murderers and human rights violators.

Stop the killings!

End impunity!

Justice now!


College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Negros Chapter President Randell Aranza speaking in front of College Editors from various universities and colleges in Region 6.



Jaro prayers and lighted candles for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre

Candlelighting at the Jaro Cathedral, Iloilo City, November 25, 4:00-7:00pm.

Led by the National Union of Journalists in the Phils (NUJP).-Iloilo,

National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL)-Iloilo,

Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center (JASAC), and Panay Alliance-KARAPATAN.


Photos emailed by Bayan-Panay 


Candlelighting at Jaro Cathedral Msgr Meliton Oso of Social Action Center IBP-Iloilo President Atty Marvin Daquilanea



Press Release
25 November 2009

Secretary General
Contact No.: 09185497593


Iloilo City – Militant groups under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Panay vehemently condemns the brutal and inhumane mass murder in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao last November 22.

According to Edgar Pelayo, secretary general of BAYAN-Panay, the massacre of civilians, including journalists and lawyers, shows the callousness of those in power to fortify their insatiable greed for power and wealth.

“This is a bloody start for the May 2010 presidential elections. The use of private armies and even mobilizing some members of the Philippine National Police and CAFGUS as government guards of the Ampatuans are indications that warlordism and gangsterism long existed in Maguindanao. The climate of impunity reigns since the government, past and present, turned a blind eye on this, tolerating their existence”, added Pelayo.

“We demand justice for those who have been brutally killed. We lament the gruesome killing of the civilians especially the women and the members of the media. It is our urgent call for the national government to conduct a speedy and impartial probe and immediately bring the main suspects to this dreadful mass murder into the folds of the law”, said Pelayo.

BAYAN posed this as a challenge to the Arroyo government since the province of Maguindanao is said to be capable of tilting the balance of political forces in terms of votes during elections.

“The ‘Hello Garci” controversy brings Maguindanao province into the picture during the 2004 presidential elections and eventually made Gloria Arroyo the president. Maguindanao was able to deliver a 12-0 vote in favor of the administration’s senatorial candidates in 2007 elections. The incumbent governor belonging to the Ampatuan clan, is said to be close to Arroyo“ said Pelayo.

“We hope that the president will bring the full force of the law into this historical, election-related mass murder. If the national and local governments fail to bring justice to the victims the soonest time possible, then the Filipino people will ultimately get rid of this government that is capable of tolerating and letting go of the perpetrators in this grossly merciless killing”, ended Pelayo. #

Nestor Burgos Jr NUJP-Iloilo Chairperson
NUPL-Iloilo President Atty Joshua Alim


Iloilo City Indignation rally and candleligthing for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre in Iloilo city

at the Plazoleta Gay, Iloilo City, November 25, 10:00am


Photos emailed by Bayan-Panay  ▼




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

NDF-EV condemns Maguindanao massacre, hits similar warlordism in Eastern Visayas

November 27, 2009

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today joined the universal outrage and condemnation over the massacre last Nov. 24 in Maguindanao of at least 57 people by henchmen of a political warlord close to the Arroyo regime. "We support the calls for justice over the mass murder of defenseless civilians including women, lawyers and at least 29 journalists, " said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. "This is probably the worst incident of election-related violence in Philippine history, and also an unprecedented number of journalists killed in a single day in the line of duty. Many Muslims and Christians in the region hail from Mindanao and are aware, if not themselves victims, of the ceaseless reactionary violence committed by the Arroyo regime and its local and foreign allies."

Fr. Salas likewise expressed alarm at the rising atrocities of warlordism and the Arroyo regime's impunity for human rights violations. "Eastern Visayas is infested with warlords, if not on the same monstrous level in Maguindanao. The big politicians in the region all have their own private armed groups, and benefit from allying with the Arroyo regime to protect their political, economic and criminal interests. Moreover, the military and police look the other way in exchange for the politicians' support for their "counter-insurgency " Oplan Bantay Laya. Top civilian officials betray the people by ignoring complaints of the military's human rights abuses, actively establishing the paramilitary CAFGU in their bailiwicks, and joining the 8th Infantry Division in promoting Oplan Bantay Laya. In fact, many CAFGU paramilitaries also double as goons of certain politicians. "

The NDF-EV spokesperson also did not believe that justice would be easily obtained for the Maguindanao massacre or that warlordism would be solved soon. "The Arroyo regime and the warlords who are its allies have intertwined interests and band together in institutional violence against the people. The corrupt regime and the political warlords both want to stay on in power, both will use each other to get the votes, and both are willing to oppress the people to have their way. Furthermore, the warlords are emboldened to butcher because they also see and support the impunity enjoyed by Arroyo's military and police in committing human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya. There are tens of thousands of victims of political killings, enforced disappearances, torture, bombardments of civilian communities, forced evacuations and other human rights abuses under Oplan Bantay Laya. Thus, Arroyo's declaration of a "state of emergency" in Maguindanao will only add fuel to the fire. There is danger in deploying troops whose human rights abuses have gone unchecked, and in giving Arroyo control of a situation that she could grab to her benefit in the 2010 election."

Fr. Salas said that the people's vigilance and struggle are more important than the Arroyo regime's tokenisms to justice. "The people should monitor the developments and press on with the demand for justice, not only for the Maguindanao massacre, but also for the Arroyo regime's gross and widespread human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya. The people can also use the electoral struggle by campaigning against election violence and cheating, and hailing candidates who are striving for fundamental changes. Because of the Arroyo regime's worsening oppression and exploitation of the people, increasing numbers are also joining the New People's Army to escape persecution and engage in revolutionary armed struggle to do away entirely with the reactionary ruling system." #

Roy Santos
NDF-EV Media Liaison Officer
Cellphone Number: 639196199369
E-mail: ndfevis@gmail. com




GRP, AFP-PNP to blame for the fascist monstrosity of Ampatuans, political warlords
Rubi Del Mundo
National Democratic Front-Southern Mindanao

November 25, 2009

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Southern Mindanao believes there is no one else to blame but the reactionary Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her fascist apparatus, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), for the monstrosity recently brandished by the notorious political warlords in Maguindanao, the Ampatuan clan.

The brutal massacre to date of 57 individuals including local politicians and their relatives, journalists, lawyers, drivers, and ordinary travelers in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao last Monday, November 23 is highly condemnable. The people are seething with rage for this senseless killing, a killing without compunction.

The victims were on a convoy to Shariff Aguak town for the filing of Certificate of Candidacy for Maguindanao governorship in behalf of Datu Esmael Mangudadatu, current vice mayor of Buluan town. But they were accosted by armed men comprising of the PNP, Army and CVOs led by Shariff Aguak Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. Mostly made up of women, they were all killed and buried in separate mass graves dug up by heavy equipment owned by the provincial government under Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr.

By all indications, the massacre bears the markings of another AFP and PNP atrocity against civilians as they have been clearly serving as part of the private and mercenary army of the Ampatuan hooligans in the bogus Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The 6th Infantry Division of the Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP is involved in the barbarity of the Ampatuans against civilians. This recent carnage in Maguindanao province adds to the bloody record of human rights violations perpetrated by the Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP. It is an indictment of the US-Arroyo regime's direct sponsorship of election-related violence, extrajudicial and political killings since assuming power in 2001.

Mrs. Arroyo and all the candidates under her administration were beneficiaries of the Ampatuan's fraudulently produced votes in its strongholds in the 2004 GRP elections. The Ampatuans also serve as local pawns of the US-Arroyo regime's counter-revolutiona ry campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Like the previous GRP presidents, Arroyo is a coddler of electoral cheats and criminal warlords to serve her political and economic interests.

The NDF-Southern Mindanao slams the US-Arroyo regime for its double standard of reactionary justice. The cordial meeting of GRP Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jesus Dureza with the Ampatuans underscores the real stand of Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when it comes to her lackeys and political allies. The immediate on-site visit of GRP Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, PNP Chief Jesus Versoza, and AFP generals only underscore their frantic intention to clean up evidence against the GMA-backed Ampatuans and save the regime from the people's wrath.

The NDF-Southern Mindanao is one with all freedom and peace-loving people in the country and around the world in demanding justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. It demands the Ampatuans, the GRP and the AFP-PNP to pay for this gruesome crime.

The impunity with which Mrs. Arroyo rules through political allies like the Ampatuans makes it incumbent and urgent upon the Filipino people to oust Mrs. Arroyo and not wait until she voluntarily steps down in 2010.

Mrs. Arroyo's shameless dalliance with the Ampatuan clan and other political warlords, and with corrupt and vicious officials of the AFP/PNP, including fascist bureaucrats like Eduardo Ermita and Norberto Gonzales must end, now!




Oudegracht 36
3511 AP Utrecht
The Netherlands
Tel & Fax: +31-30-2145593
25 November 2009

International People’s Lawyers Grieve and Rage
Over Horrible Killings of Filipina Colleagues

The International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) joins the international legal community as well as the countless individuals and organizations all over the world in expressing its outrage over the brutal and beastly killing of fellow people’s lawyers, media and other unarmed civilians in Maguindanao, Philippines.

Atty. Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo, who are active and leading members of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers of the Philippines (NUPL) were attacked in a carnage that led to the deaths of more than 50 individuals - a significant number of whom were journalists - engaged or were monitoring a peaceful election-related activity.

Connie was among those who were met in November 2008 by European judges and lawyers who conducted an international mission on the continuing attacks on Filipino lawyers and judges.

The indubitable reports overwhelmingly point to a local warlord clan and its private armed groups of police and paramilitary fanatics as behind this hideous and unmitigated bloodbath that has shocked the whole world not only in its being unprecedented but also in its barbarity.

This latest brazen attack on our brave colleagues and their group of unarmed civilians is but a result and is engendered by the culture of impunity that has pervaded the Philippine political scene since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001.

Extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, unjust arrests and detention, forcible evacuations and displacements, and political persecution have been perpetuated by a policy that has targeted civilians and progressive people. These have victimized thousands and remain neither to be effectively resolved nor genuinely addressed to this moment. This revolting state of affairs is exacerbated or even encouraged by the warlordism sanctioned de facto by the Arroyo government for its own political interests.

Attys. Brizuela and Oquendo, together with their courageous and dynamic peoples’ lawyers in the Philippines have tirelessly worked and advocated for good governance and peace. They are a source of unending inspiration to us all even as we grieve and rage. The plight of our colleagues continues to be monitored and addressed by the international legal community with grave concern.

We demand and will work for justice for our fallen colleagues. #

Raf Jespers (Belgium)
Secretary General



The National Lawyers Guild Calls for an End to the Culture of Impunity in the Philippines

The brutal massacre in Maguindanao on November 23 that has left more than 50 dead, many of them women, follows a pattern of extra-judicial killings that has been plaguing the Philippines . Death squads have been murdering progressive activists with impunity. The death count has reached more than 1000 since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency began. Twenty-two lawyers and 15 judges had been killed before this massacre and among the dead in Maguindana are two women lawyers from the National Union of People’s Lawyers, Connie Brizuela and Cynthia Joquindo.

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) demands real justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and other extra-judicial killings in the Philippines . The NLG calls on the Arroyo government to cease words without action and tolerance of the status quo that has bred this culture of impunity in the Philippines . The culture of impunity allows for private armies and feudal clan political dynasties in a country that claims democracy. The NLG calls for the dismantling of these armies, starting with the instant disarmament of the Ampatuan’s army and an end to feudal clan political dynasties. The killing of lawyers, journalists, political activists and other innocent victims must be stopped and the perpetrators brought to justice.

Further, the NLG calls on the U.S. government to investigate whether there is a connection between the U.S. military presence in Mindanao and escalating violence in that region.

Heidi Boghosian
Executive Director
National Lawyers Guild
132 Nassau Street #922
New York , NY 10038
212-679-5100, ext. 11
_www.nlg.org_ (

Vanessa K. Lucas
Edelstein & Payne
P.O. Box 28186
Raleigh, NC 27611
Phone: 919 828-1456
Fax: 919 828-4689

National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email and
"Visit the NUPL at




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



Press Statement of UP - NUPL

Let the law be a way to justice

The UP community will march in a candlelighting protest from the College of Mass Communication to the College of Law on Friday, 5:30 pm.

The University of the Philippines College of Law chapter of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers calls for justice for the 57 victims of Maguindanao’s deadly political feud.

We call for the immediate arrest, as well as the impartial treatment, of the masterminds and perpetrators of the massacre in Maguindanao. None have been made two days after the massacre, even if the suspect Ampatuans have been identified, and probable cause is sufficient.

The Arroyo administration is treading carefully into an ally’s territory, in an apparent nod to party politics. We denounce the malicious thirst for power that drives politicians to kill, in order to perpetuate their stay in office. We abhor the continued existence of private armies and collusion with the state police and military, and the sad realities that blind such members to join them. We despise violent and dishonest elections.

We call for the transparent handling of the murder cases, and the evenhanded presentation of evidence that may be in the possession and control of government agents and officials in Maguindanao. We demand our right to information, we insist on fair trial.

As we mourn the loss of civilians and media practitioners, we particularly salute two of our bravest lady lawyers. Attorneys Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, both staunch human rights advocates, are members of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao, and the national association National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers.

Of the few people who decide to become lawyers, even fewer make the choice to tread the path of human rights and peoples’ lawyering. This attack has shown that peoples’ lawyering is a dangerous branch of the legal profession, and the Philippines a bleak place for human rights.

Yet still we step into the courage of these two officers of the court, because this is a time when human rights need more defenders. As we stand awash in corruption and brutality reminiscent of darker years, we recommit ourselves to peoples’ lawyering.

Let the law be a way to justice, so no arrogant ones may take it into their own hands.

National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email and
"Visit the NUPL at


Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada

NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations;; Tel : +1 604 738 0338 ;Fax : +1 604 736 1175

Asian Legal Resource Centre

NGO in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and;; Tel: +(852) - 2698-6339; Fax: +(852) - 2698-6367

Philippines: Human rights groups denounce Massacre of lawyers Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo and 55 others on November 23, 2009 in Maguindanao Province.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
• condemn the execution of two human rights lawyers, Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, along with 55 others in the November 23, 2009 massacre in Maguindanao province of the Philippines.
• condemn government failure to investigate the murders of more that 37 jurists and over 800 other members of Philippine society since 2001,

• calls for the creation of an international body equipped and mandated to conduct a thorough and timely investigation of the November 23, 2009 massacre and to recommend prosecutions and such further actions required by law.

On November 23, 2009, 57 people were abducted and executed by approximately 100 gunmen while en route to file election papers for Ismael Mangudadatu as a candidate for governor of Maguindanao in the May 2010 election. The candidate was not with the entourage as he has received deaths threats. Reports indicate that many of the 57 people murdered were subjected to terrible acts prior to their deaths. Twenty-four of the victims were women including the candidate’s wife and sisters and two lawyers Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo. According to Reporters without Borders, at least 22 journalists were killed in the attack, the largest killing of journalists in a single day.

Police have named as the chief suspect, Andal Amputuan, son of the three-term governor of Maguindanao province and a powerful supporter of the Lakas Kampi colation led by PhilippinePresident Gloria Arroyo. This raises the sceptre of possible complicity by government agents. The past reveals a record of failing to take effective measure to prevent such atrocities.

Since 2001 over a thousand people have been killed in the Philippines, all of them in some way seen as opponents or critics of the regime led by President Gloria Arroyo. The dead include peasants, lawyers (22), judges (15), opposition politicians, journalists and other members of civil society. These extra-judicial killings were thought to be a result of the U.S. initiated counter-insurgency plan to eliminate the New People’s Army—Operation Plan Freedom Watch (Oplan Bantay Laya - OBL). The OBL was first ceated by the Arroyo regime in 2002 as a 5-year plan and extended in 2007. There have been no proper investigations of these extrajudicial killings and only one prossecution and conviction.

In 2007, Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur for extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made a number of recommendations to prevent further and punish past extrajudicial killings. His recommendation that, “Convictions in a significant number of extrajudicial execution must be achieved” has not been implemented. His recommendation that, “IALAG [Inter-active Legal Agency Group] should be abolished, and the criminal justice system should refocus on investigating and prosecuting those committing extrajudicial executions and other serious crimes” has not been implemented. His recommendation that, “Human rights should be safeguarded within the peace movement has not been implemented.”. has not been implemented.

The Philippine government failed to take effective steps to prevent or punish those extrajudicial killings, in spite of the careful recommendations of Professor Alston. That failure violated the Philippine government’s primary legal duty to protect the right to life and to ensure adequate criminal and civil remedies when that right is violated. It also created the climate of impunity that encouraged and allowed the November 23 2009 massacre.

For a period of over 8 years, the Philippine government has on the one hand refused, and on the other, demonstrated a lack of capacity, to carry out the investigations required by both international law (binding on the Philippines) and domestic law.

A state’s duty to protect the right to life, in part by punishing violations has been articulated by the European Court of Human Rights,
“The obligation to protect the right to life… requires by implication that there should be some form of effective official investigation when individuals have been killed as a result of the use of force. …The essential purpose of such investigation is to secure the effective implementation of the domestic laws which protect the right to life and, in those cases involving State agents or bodies, to ensure their accountability for deaths occurring under their responsibility..”

The articles of the European Convention on Human Rights considered above are the same as Articles 2 and 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines became a party on 23 January 1987.

The UN Human Rights Committee has also determined that the failure to properly protect the right to life by punishing those who violate that right is itself a violation of the right to life.

“…the positive obligations on States Parties to ensure Covenant [ICCPR] rights will only be fully discharged if individuals are protected by the State…There may be circumstances in which a failure to ensure Covenant rights as required by Article 2 [rights to a remedy] would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties' permitting or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities.

The UN General Assembly has likewise affirmed the duty of states to provide victims of extrajudicial killings and other gross human rights violations with ‘full and effective reparation ...which includes ...[v]erification of the facts and full and public disclosure of the truth’

The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (UN Investigation Principles) and the Model Protocol for a Legal Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (Minnesota Protocol) reflect a global consensus on the appropriate standards for such investigations. The initial remedy for the loss of life by violence is an investigation, which is capable of effectively determining if the death occurred by an illegal use of force. If the loss of life was the result of illegal violence, the state has a duty to prosecute and try the perpetrator(s), to punish those convicted and to afford access to civil remedies.

LRWC and ALRC call upon the international community to condemn the massacre of 57 people that has left members the human rights community around the world in shock. LRWC and ALRC also call upon the international community to insist on and to take all measure to ensure:

1. The appointment of a team of professional investigators from outside the Philippines;
a) qualified in the various necessary aspects of criminal investigations,
b) absolutely independent of the Arroyo regime; and
c) authorized to compel production of evidence and examine witnesses; and,
d) mandated to conduct a thorough, transparent and accountable inquiry into the 57 murders that occurred on November 23, 2009; and.
e) mandated to make recommendations for the prosecution of the suspected perpetrators identified by the inquiry and to make recommendations of alternatives in the event that the Philippine courts are unable or unwilling to proceed with the prosecutions recommended.
2. Monitor the safety of others likely to be under attack.

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of Canadian lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally by engaging in education and research and providing support to lawyers and other human rights defenders in danger because of their advocacy. LRWC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC/UN).

Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) is a Hong Kong-based NGO with General Consultative status with ECOSOC/UN. Founded in 1986 by a prominent group of jurists and human rights activists in Asia, ALRC promotes respect for human rights in the region through the strengthening of institutions of the rule of law, notably the police, prosecution and judiciary. It also seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues by the bar and other legal bodies and personnel, at the local and national levels and to promote rights in the region through advocacy, research and publications, such as Article 2.



 Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, Addendum, Follow-up to country recommendations – Philippines, A/HRC/11/2/Add.8, 29 April 2009, Appendix, analyzing compliance with the recommendations made in his 2007 report, A/HRC/8/3/Add.2.
Finucane v. The United Kingdom (Application no. 29178/95) Judgment, Strasbourg, 1 July 2003,
at para. 67.
Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31 on Article 2 of the Covenant: The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant, UN Doc. CCPR/C/74/CRP.4/Rev.6, 21 April 2004, para. 8.
GA Res. 60/147, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims
of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International
Humanitarian Law, 16 December 2005, Articles 18 and 22. See Duty of States to Investigate Extra-Judicial Killings, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, November 2009.
Recommended by Economic and Social Council resolution 1989/65 of 24 May 1989.
Part III of the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/. 12 (1991)


Download complete text in Word format



Iloilo City Indignation rally and candleligthing for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre

at the Plazoleta Gay, Iloilo City, November 25, 10:00am


▼ Photos by LEO L. SOLINAP, Press Photographer, ILOILO CITY ▼




Moro group call on all Muslims to condemn Maguindanao Massacre

In light of the Muslim people's observance of the Eid'l Adha on November 27, Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib Moro Human Rights appeal to the Ustadz, Imam and the Ulama to devote their sermons and prayer in calling for peace and justice and hope to reign in Maguindanao and the whole of Mindanao.

According to Amirah Ali Lidasan, national president of Suara Bangsamoro, without sounding disrespectful in the observance to one of the holy festival of the Muslim people, the Eid'l Adha , the group implore on their religious leaders to take a stand on the massacre incident in Maguindanao on November 23.

Lidasan lifts a quote from the Holy Qur'an as basis for this call and says it is imperative for the religious leaders to take a stand in defense of the people of Maguindanao and to preempt future violence to happen again in Maguindanao and the rest of the Moro areas:

Qur'an 4:75-76 Surah An-Nisaa (The Women) And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who being weak are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men women and children whose cry is: "Our Lord! rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help!"

Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

'This is a defining moment for the Moro people of Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. We should publicly condemn the killings and not let political and familial affiliations hinder our responsibility as Muslims to condemn this act,' said Lidasan.

Lidasan also said that it is the responsibility of the Muslim religious leaders to put back in the hearts and minds of Muslim people that there is nothing to fear but Allah alone, instead of helping perpetuate the fear of politicians and warlord prevail in Maguindanao and the ARMM.

Lidasan grieves with the families and friends of the victims and hopes to reach out with the rest of the Filipino people in condemning this dastardly act.

'We hope that the Moro people's outcry be also highlighted as part of public's outrage. We are in unity with the rest in calling for an end to the culture of impunity to reign in Maguindanao,' said Lidasan.

Lidasan said that this is not merely a traditional rido and the public should not be led to believe that this is natural or merely part of Moro people's tradition and culture.

Lidasan said that simplifying the massacre as mere 'rido' or traditional clan war is glossing over the heinous crime committed by the warlords - the killing of mustadafins (oppressed) such as the
women and the unarmed people who died in the incident - and exonerating the perpetrators from their crime.

Lidasan also criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and the rest of the administration party's move to expell the Ampatuans from their ranks, adding that the administration merely absolve themselves from being party to the rise and continuing warlordism of the Ampatuans in Maguindanao.

'We should not ignore that it is the same administration who gave the Ampatuans the leverage over other politicians in Maguindanao in exchange for the votes that the administration had been getting from Maguindanao and the ARMM,' said Lidasan saying that the administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should also be held liable for the proliferation of 'legitimized' private armies through the EO 546 creating the civilian auxiliary armies for local government units.

National President, Suara Bangsamoro
Mobile Phone: 09196603839



Media Release
27 November 2009
For Reference: Atty. Beverly Selim-Musni (0908-607-9648)

We grieve, we pray, we rage:
—Panaw Kalinaw

Peace and human rights group lambasted today the extra-judicial killings sweeping Mindanao, emphasizing the accountability of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in nurturing the climate of impunity in the island.

“The extra-judicial killings everywhere in Mindanao involves the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVO), paramilitary groups and private armies,” said Atty. Beverly Selim-Musni of the Panaw Kalinaw. Atty. Musni emphasized Mrs. Arroyo’s patronage of political warlordism of the Ampatuans and other political allies in Central Mindanao, while directing various paramilitary groups such as the Task Force Gantangan in Northern Mindanao and the AFP in defending mining and other investments in the Lumad and peasant areas of the island that resulted to death of a number of its leaders.

Enraged over the death of 57 civilians of the massacre in Shariff Aguak, Atty. Musni stressed that the culture of impunity has long swept Mindanao and pointed out that the infamous carnage recently accentuated this impunity.

Before the Maguindanao 57, paramilitary group Task Force Gantangan has been sowing terror in the Lumad and peasant communities, and are in a killing spree targeting Lumad and peasant leaders. According to the statistics of human rights watchdog Karapatan, 13 have been victimized by the extra-judicial killings in the greater Northern Mindanao Region only this year. The latest of these killings is the murder of Datu Alvie Binungkasan, an officer of the Pig-akuman Lumad organization of Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental. In September 2, killed was Datu Mampaagi Belayong of the group Linundigan in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur . On September 28, Datu Aladino Badbaran was gunned down in San Luis, Agusan del Sur, with her wife Demesia got hit but survived. Aladino was a leader of the Lumad organization Tagdumahan. Three days ago, Aladino’s cousin Rico Badbaran was also killed.

“We are afraid that Arroyo’s declaration of State of Emergency in Maguindanao is a ploy to whitewash the criminal culpability of the Ampatuans as Mrs. Arroyo has a track record of protecting and lionizing the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings. Under the Arroyo regime, more than a thousand have become victims of extrajudicial killings and yet not a single perpetrator has been caught, tried and jailed, “ Atty. Musni emphasized. Panaw Kalinaw strongly urges an independent investigation of the Maguindanao massacre inhibiting Malacanang, Jesus Dureza, Raul Gonzales, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

For its part, Panaw Kalinaw joins the media and lawyers in a condemnation rally today in Cagayan de Oro City against the Maguindanao Massacre. It will also convene a National Peace and Human Rights Mission (PHRM) in the areas of Northern Mindanao on November 29-December 2, 2009 where impunity is at its highest. It will send teams composed of national and regional human rights organizations to investigate human rights violations in Agusan del Sur, and Malaybalay Bukidnon where extra-judicial killings happened, and “minor” human rights violations such as coercion, harassment and intimidation, and enforced displacements are becoming a daily fare.

International participants from Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and the USA will join the above-mentioned Mission co-sponsored by National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR), Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas (KAMP), KATRIBU and others.

Panaw Kalinaw is an aggrupation of local human rights organizations, churches, people’s organization and service institutions like Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM), Karapatan, Sisters Associaition in Mindanao (SAMIN), Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP Northwestern Mindanao Jurisdiction), Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI Diocese of MOBUCA) and Community-Based Health Services.###

Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR)
Postal Address:
Gonzales Res., Purok Lourdes, Tubod
9200 Iligan City, Philippines
Tel. No.: (063) 221-7807

"our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active"--1 john 3:18-



By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Carnage waiting to happen

It was a carnage waiting to happen. In the wild, wild province of Maguindanao, ruled since 2001 by the Ampatuan clan, long-time political allies of de facto President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the November 23 massacre of 57 people and counting, could be chalked up as another grizzly case of wanton violence between two warring political clans. Yet the brutality, the brazenness, and the crass utilization of a monopoly of political power to carry out this hideous mass murder continues to shock and draw universal condemnation.

The victims include the wife and two pregnant women relatives of Vice Mayor Ismael Mangudadatu, a slew of journalists from outside the province (who presumably could muster the courage and the independence to cover the event), two intrepid human rights lawyers and even several motorists who trailed the convoy as it set out for Sharif Aguak to file the vice mayor’s certificate of candidacy. The obvious intent of the brains behind the murders was to prevent the filing from taking place but with what overkill!

Only people who are in authority and are confident they are above the law could have engineered a massacre in broad daylight such as this. The accusing finger points unwaveringly in the direction of the Ampatuans who have been the uncontested overlords in Maguindanao since Mrs. Arroyo took power.

The circumstantial evidence is compelling; i.e. the public and private threats against the vice mayor from the incumbent governor; the reported call of Genalyn Mangudadatu, the vice mayor’s wife, that Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of Gov. Ampatuan, led the more than 100 armed men that waylaid them; the refusal of the PNP and AFP commanders in the province to provide security for the convoy; the sighting of local police plus paramilitary forces among the killing horde; the backhoe traced to the provincial government that was used in excavating the hole in which some of the victims and their vehicles were buried; and the complete lack of action or even any credible statement from the responsible local government officials – all members of the Ampatuan clan – regarding the horrible crimes that took place within their jurisdiction, or more precisely, their feudal fiefdom .

And it is precisely because the prime suspects involve members of this well-armed warlord clan holding sway in Maguindanao, a province that has been key to Mrs. Arroyo’s and administration candidates’ tainted victories in past elections, that government is proceeding ever so slowly and cautiously in its response, despite pronouncements that it will undertake “immediate and relentless pursuit” of the perpetrators of the massacre.

First, a “crisis committee” led by Presidential Adviser Dureza is dispatched to appeal to the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus to cooperate in the investigation. Hot pursuit should have been the immediate action of police and military authorities but they instead preoccupy themselves with preventing “a breakdown in law and order” in anticipation of retaliation by the aggrieved members of the Mangudadatu clan.

A “state of emergency” is declared in Maguindanao but the implicated local government officials are not administratively suspended to prevent them from using their positions to obstruct the investigation, destroy evidence or shield suspects. They are not even being called by the police for questioning. The PNP spokesperson could only say lamely that they could not declare much less arrest anyone as a suspect without a written complaint from the aggrieved parties.

All of a sudden, government is ever so wary about violating the due process rights of the implicated Ampatuans. Warrantless arrests, Dureza assured, will not be resorted to even in a “state of emergency”. Former Justice Secretary and now presidential adviser on legal affairs, Raul Gonzales, he who has been quick to call for the arrest of Leftist parliamentarians on flimsy charges of “conspiracy to commit rebellion”, cautions against acting hastily against the Ampatuans in the absence of so-called solid evidence.

Mrs. Arroyo, while declaring a “national day of mourning” for the victims conspicuously does not condole with any of their bereaved relatives as is her wont but goes to her home province instead to inaugurate a highway. Strange behavior if not for the fact that she likely still hasn’t figured a way out of her latest dilemma: how is she to control the massive political fallout with one of her closest allies doing the unthinkable, while not doing anything to provoke the Ampatuans into spilling the beans on the massive cheating that has been taking place in Maguindanao, should she appear to be favoring the Mangudadatus in any fashion.

Executive Secretary Ermita sheepishly states that the government does not control everything that happens “on the ground” to excuse itself from doing anything to prevent the carnage. However, except for the Arroyo regime which is still very much in denial, almost all commentary and statements issued by various groups so far say that the conditions for the massacre had been laid by the Arroyo regime’s own policies and actuations.

KARAPATAN, the human rights alliance, ascribes to Oplan Bantay Laya, the Arroyo regime's counter-insurgency program, the mindset among the powers-that-be that led to the Maguindanao massacre: “Under OBL, the recruitment and arming of paramilitary groups such as the CAFGU and civilian volunteer organizations have persisted and in fact have been resorted to by the government in its mad design of purportedly ending the insurgency by 2010.”

“With this counter-insurgency program, so many victims, easily labeled as ‘fronts’ of ‘communist organizations’ and ‘enemies of the state’ have turned up dead, killed in a brutal manner, and some disappeared; with the Arroyo government doing nothing to stop the killings, disappearances and other human rights violations. In fact, it even heaped praises for known perpetrators identified with these crimes. Under this counter-insurgency scheme, the Arroyo government has become the biggest warlord in the land.”

“For far too long has this regime considered itself a law above the citizens, contravening the laws laid out in the legal instruments of the land so much so that its coddled political allies have imbibed the mindset that they, too, can commit such transgressions with impunity."

This state of impunity has likewise abetted fraud and plunder at the highest reaches of government, with the likes of Garci, Bolante, Abalos and no less than the first couple spared from an honest-to-goodness investigation, prosecution and conviction.

The Arroyo regime rightly deserves the people’s condemnation for its bloodied hand in this most vile crime against humanity. With the unrepentant Arroyo regime still in place and its kid gloves treatment of the Ampatuans, we certainly have not seen the last or even the worst of its atrocities. #

*Published in Business World
27-28 November 2009




PRESS STATEMENT Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez
November 26, 2009 Chairperson, Mobile No. 09175616800

Inaction on and tolerating human rights violations abet crimes such as the Maguindanao massacre

KARAPATAN condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the massacre of 57 civilians which included media persons and two women lawyers in Maguindanao, on November 23, 2009.

Early this year, the human rights alliance has warned of escalating violence as extrajudicial killings have continued despite declarations from the Arroyo government that it is adhering to the recommendations of the UNSR on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Prof. Philip Alston; and as the government-pronounced deadline of ending the insurgency comes to a close in 2010, which is also an election year..

The Maguindanao massacre was an event waiting to happen with the continued implementation of this criminal government’s anti-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). Under OBL, the recruitment of para-military groups such as the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) and Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO’s) as well as the arming of these individuals have persisted and in fact have been resorted to by the government in its mad design of purportedly “ending the insurgency by 2010.” Such groups, which have been placed under the supervision and effective control of the military, have been tagged, together with the latter and the police, as responsible for various human rights violations happening around the country.

With this counter-insurgency program, so many victims, easily labeled as “fronts” of “communist organizations” and “enemies of the state” have turned up dead, killed in a brutal manner and some disappeared; with the Arroyo government doing nothing to stop the killings, disappearances and other human rights violations. In fact, it even heaped praises for known perpetrators identified with these crimes. Under this counter-insurgency scheme, the Arroyo government has become the biggest warlord in the land.

Now the country is jolted by a brutal crime ostensibly committed by a private army of a warlord in one of the so-called election hotspots in the country. The public is now witness to the barbaric impunity by which the perpetrators can kill and even try to hide the crime as if no law can be applied to prevent them from committing such a brutal act in broad daylight, hiding even such evidences as vehicles with the use of government properties!

For far too long has this regime considered itself a law above the citizens, contravening the laws laid out in the legal instruments of the land so much so that its coddled political allies have imbibed the mindset that they, too, can commit such transgressions with impunity. Thus, on Monday, these perpetrators have been emboldened to commit the carnage that shocked the world. Such is the result of condoning and tolerating human rights violations.

The public must not allow this government to just relegate such a heinous crime as this massacre of civilians into a mere election-related offense. We must not allow a whitewash of the investigation on this dastardly act especially in the face of the declarations of this regime to get the perpetrators of the crime. We demand for a thorough, diligent investigation, arresting and initiating prosecution proceedings against the known perpetrators of this crime.

We call on the Arroyo government to immediately disband the paramilitary units of the AFP and private armies of warlords and politicians and stop the Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program as its method to eradicate the festering insurgency in the land. This strategy is only engendering crimes against humanity.




News Release
November 26, 2009

For Reference: Peter Arvin Jabido, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, email:

No Arrest, Prosecution is as Good as Condoning Amputan Massacre-- NYCHRP

New York-- A local human rights advocacy group in New York City expressed outrage over recent comments made Philippine Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita over the Arroyo government's so-called limitations in putting a stop to politically-motivated violence such as the gruesome massacre of 57 individuals in the Southern Philippine province of Maguindanao last November 23rd.

"Because we are only human, we cannot stop these things from happening, but we will just do whatever is legally possible within human limits to be able to stop [them]," Ermita, who heads the Philippine Presidential Human Rights Committee, proclaimed recently to the press.

"As shocking as this massacre was, the bigger crime is impunity for the perpetrators," states Gary Labao of the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP). "Even the State of Emergency declared by Arroyo on the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato is not a genuine act of concern from Malacanang to account for warlordism. Militarization is the Philippine government's standing policy of repression in Mindanao, particularly in Muslim Mindanao. Local police and affiliates of the warlord Amputuan family, who committed the crime in broad daylight, were enabled to commit these acts of terror against the convoy of women, journalists, lawyers, and unborn children with total and complete confidence because they knew they could get away with it under the current culture of impunity in the Philippines."

Labao also pointed out Maguinadanao governor Andal Amputuan's long history of political patronage with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. "Because of Arroyo and Amputuan's history of exchanging political favors, Amputuan can rule by fear, intimidation, and violence in the region because he knows that Malacanang's got his back, so to speak," Labao added.

In recent years, Secretary Ermita has reported to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that the human rights situation in the Philippines is improving, in response to earlier reports that a human rights crisis characterized by over 1100 cases of extrajudicial killings and 200 cases of enforced disappearances of unarmed civilian dissidents plagued the country.

"What happened in Maguindanao last week clearly disproves Ermita's arrogant and smug testimony to the United Nations that the Arroyo government is taking effective measures to curtail human rights abuses that have plagued the country since 2001, and should serve as a wakeup call for the international community," Labao continued.

"Now more than ever, international pressure for justice must escalate. The United Nations and other international human rights monitoring bodies must withdraw their confidence in the Arroyo government and assist in ensuring a thorough and impartial investigation is conducted. The Amputuan political clan must be held accountable through a due process. Arrests and prosecution of the perpetrators should be conducted. Arroyo's unhindered ties with the Amputuan family and continuance of impunity for the perpetrators of the massacre is as good as condoning it," Labao ended. ###


“Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace.” Isa. 59:7-8

Ampatuan Massacre, A By-product of Government Tolerated Warlordism
(Statement of PCPR on the Ampatuan Massacre)

The Promotion of Church People's Response (PCPR) is in solidarity with the mourning nation . We are indignant on the gruesome, monstrous and ruthless massacre of people in Ampatuan, Maguindanao. The world grieves on this atrocious acts as the international community express their sympathy as well as calling for jsutice.

The said incident last November 23 that recorded more than 50 people barbarically killed by 100 armed men reportedly near a military detachment is despicable.

Killing the numerous media practitioners and lawyers and candidate's supporters shows how masterminds and their butchers spare no one. By doing so, they paraded their heinous power , sending a message that they are not afraid of anyone and that they can do the most gruesome crime with impunity. From whence their power comes? Since 2001, political killings in this country happens with impunity. Could it be the the GMA who cuddles the crime of killings to protect her power, had also cuddled the warlord in Maguindanao? She benifits from the violence spurs by the warlords and her governemnt creates the climate of criminal impunity for almost nine years under GMA regime.

It is undeniable that massacre was brought about by historical clan war between two powerful parties in Maguindanao. Worse, it was obviously tolerated by the national leadership due to their both political interest to stay in power. Irrefutably, influential and political families uses regular and para-military as their private armies to advance their personal interests.

Moreover, people must be extra vigilant in what had been transpired and going to be happen as the 2010 election getting nearer. These might be use for their favor to subject the whole nation under state of emergency, thus, justify the no election scenario. We must always be reminded of the last presidential election. They can massacre people just to stay in power.

It is in this situation, we share in the outraged and sentiments of the Filipino people. We held theArroyo governent and their allies accountable to the escalating human rights situation in the Philippines. We are firm in our prophetic stand that faithful must defend human life and dignity. We call to end impunity. Stop the killings in the Philippines!


Mr. Nardy Sabino,



Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change
PRESS STATEMENT / 26 November 2009
Reference: Ms Bibeth Orteza (Pagbabago! spokesperson) Mobile 0917.7913132

Arroyo administration’s policy of extra-judicial killings, patronage politics paved the way for Maguindanao massacre

The Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change joins the nation in denouncing in the strongest possible terms the brutal massacre in the province of Maguindanao. We denounce even further the apparent lack of swift action and serious effort on the part of Malacañang and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go after the perpetrators of the worst election-related violence in the country’s history.

We demand justice for the victims and their families and this means not only arresting those directly responsible for the mass slaughter of unarmed civilians. For us, justice entails making liable all those responsible for creating the climate of impunity that has allowed the gross violation of human rights to persist and for local warlords like the Ampatuan clan to do as they please without fear of retribution from the law. For this, we hold the Arroyo administration accountable as well for the gruesome killing of at least 52 people including women, journalists, and lawyers in Maguindanao.

The Arroyo administration is the biggest warlord in this country, employing the AFP and the PNP as its own private army. Its policy and practice of extra-judicial killings and political repression of perceived enemies using the State’s security forces, machinery, and resources and then covering them up has obviously emboldened the Ampatuans to kill at whim their own political foes in Maguindanao as they had against relatives and supporters of the rival Mangudadatus, the lawyers and media people with them, and even motorists who happened to tail the convoy.

For a long time, the Arroyo administration has lavished the Ampatuans with favors such as allowing it to maintain a huge private army, including AFP-led CAFGUs which the warlord clan used to expand and further entrench its political dynasty in the region. We note that it was Arroyo’s Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) that initiated in 2006 the arming of so-called civilian volunteers in Mindanao purportedly for protection against Moro separatist rebels. This was used to legitimize the private armies of favored warlords such as the Ampatuans. These are the same armed civilian volunteers, reportedly with local police officers and armymen, who carried out the Maguindanao massacre. According to the Mangundadatos, the PNP had turned down their request for police escort in going to the COMELEC offices on that day.

This is the same private army that the Ampatuans used to terrorize the people during national elections and assure victory in the province for the Arroyo administration.

It is not a secret that the Arroyo administration owes a big political debt to the Ampatuans. This clan ensured Mrs. Arroyo wouldl get the margin she asked for against rival Fernando Poe Jr. in the fraudulent 2004 presidential elections. This clan also delivered an unbelievable 12-0 victory for the administration’s Team Unity senatorial ticket in the 2007 polls. Undoubtedly, the administration will once again utilize to the hilt the Ampatuans to give its presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro the boost he badly needs in next year’s presidential elections.

No amount of distancing and hand washing can absolve the Arroyo administration from culpability for allowing the Maguindano massacre to happen. We are further enraged that the immediate response of Malacañang has been minisculecompared to what the incensed public demands and what justice dictates, which is for the state security forces to immediately take custody of the Ampatuan family member directly implicated in the massacre for questioning, disarm the Ampatuan private army, and relieve from their posts all AFP and PNP officials responsible for securing peace and order in the area. The declaration of a state of emergency in the province does not address the basic problem that until now, despite positive identification of who the killers are, not a single arrest or even questioning by the police has been made. What we have seen so far despite strong words of condemnation not only in the Philippines but from the international community as well is a government handling with kid gloves a reliable political ally.

We call on all Filipino people who value life, justice, democracy, and accountability of public officials to pressure the Arroyo administration to act swiftly and bring justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and their families. We call on the people to once and for all end the climate of impunity for human rights violators and mass murderers that has pervaded in the country under the Arroyo administration. #



Cebu City Indignation rally and candleligthing for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre


BAYAN MUNA partylist, COURAGE Partylist, KABATAAN PArtylist,

ANAKPAWIS partylist, GABRIELLA partylist.and other organizations

Camp Sergio Osmena,  Cebu City

November 26, 2009


▼ Photos emailed by Bayan-Central Visayas▼




News Release – November 27, 2009
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo, 0917.8226184
For more information: Vince Borneo, Media Relations Officer, 0927.7968198

Malacañang excuses for slow action deplorable – Satur

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo slammed Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s excuse for Malacañang’s slow action on the Maguindanao Massacre that they did not ‘have full control of the situation on the ground, mortals as we are.’ He said Ermita should have refrained from issuing the excuse as it added insult to already unspeakably grievous injury to the victims’ families and to the Filipino people.

“Who among us isn’t human? Sec. Ermita is wrong when he says that brutalities such as the Maguindanao Massacre cannot be prevented. All it takes is a government free from corruption and leaders who are not slaves to guns, goons and gold. Malacañang’s entire response to this barbarity has been most disappointing to say the least; and its words of consolation and promises of decisive and just action do not comfort or assure anyone,” Ocampo said.

GMA’s Legacy of massive human rights violations and bloodshed

Ocampo said that “Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s statement on the Maguindanao massacre rang false and insincere.”

“It took two long days for Pres. Arroyo to issue that statement and to order the military to take action. The violence that characterized the Maguindanao Massacre is not new under this administration, and the pattern continues because of the administration’s own bent towards violating human rights and perpetuating the culture of impunity. It comforts and assures no one that Malacañang has promised that justice will be rendered to the victims, because in the same breath, its various officials and spokespersons are already issuing excuses that there is no sufficient evidence to pin down the perpetrators,” he said.

On the military operations

At the same time, Ocampo warned that the increased militarization in Maguindanao under a state of emergency aimed at arresting the perpetrators and masterminds of the massacre, must make sure the right suspects are arrested not fall guys and innocent civilians.

“Efforts must focus on the arrest of all the powerful Ampatuan clan leaders and not only their underlings who implemented their brutal orders. The private armies must be immediately disarmed, and the Ampatuan’s elected government officials immediately suspended. The Ampatuans must not be treated with kid gloves, and afforded no special treatment,” Ocampo said. #



Satur: we fully support NUJP justice campaign for Ampatuan Massacre victims

"Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo today gave his full support to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) campaign for justice for 57 victims of the Ampatuan Massacre that included journalists.

A former business editor and economic reporter of the pre-Martial Law Manila Times, Ocampo lauded the NUJP for its strong defense of press freedom and human rights in the Philippines. He said that the NUIJP has consistently stood firm and courageously during these times of brutality and repression on mass activists and journalists.

“I support the NUJP and urge all members of the media to support the campaign for justice for the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre and all the journalists who were killed by the powers-that-be as they performed their duty as guardians of the freedom of the press and freedom of expression,” Ocampo said.

“A progressive, activist and vigilant press is a powerful weapon against abuse of power in government, and a valuable instrument in the establishment of a society were there is genuine freedom and democracy. The reforms the NUJP demands in the system of government, particularly in the justice system, should be supported, along with its call to dismantle private armies of local warlords masquerading as local government officials. I support the NUJP in its call for the creation of a credible and impartial body that will investigate the Ampatuan Massacre,” Ocampo said.

“Most importantly, I am one with the NUJP in demanding justice for the victims and the immediate arrest, prosecution and punishment of all the perpetrators and masterminds of the Ampatuan Massacre. The Filipino people must denounce the savagery of the times and the atrocities inflicted upon us by those who swear to be our protectors,” Ocampo said.




Satur raps Malacañang for saying that it will keep friendship with Ampatuans despite massacre

"We are known by the company we keep, the friendships we nurture, and the very deeds our friends commit reflect on us. Malacañang's defiant assertion that Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will remain friends and allies with the Ampatuans speaks volumes of her kind of presidency. Despite the unspeakable horror of the Ampatuan Massacre, Pres. Arroyo remains steadfastly in support of the Ampatuans and this is nothing short of contemptible."

This was the reaction of Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo to Malacañang deputy spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo's statement that the president will not turn her back on the Ampatuans. Datu Unsay town Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., accused of masterminding the massacre, was treated as guest yesterday even he was was formally charged with multiple murder at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

"How can we expect that a fair, impartial and thorough-going investigation will be conducted in light of the Malacañang statement? The public outrage generated by the Ampatuan Massacre rolls off like water on the Ampatuans' backs because they are confident that they have Pres. Arroyo behind them. We have strong reason to fear that the investigations will end up nowhere and the Ampatuans will thumb their noses at all of us," Ocampo said."

"Pres. Arroyo's show of grief and statements condoling with the victims' families, colleagues and friends are hypocritical in the face of her refusal to eschew the Ampatuans and declare them persona non grata in Malacañang. All other moves emanating from the Palace to supposedly facilitate the process of investigations fly off as sham moves to pacify an angry public and not so much to help bring justice for the victims and their families," he added.

Charging the MILF

In the meantime, Ocampo expressed disgust with Andal Ampatuan's allegation that the Moro Islamic Front of the Philippines (MILF) was behind the Ampatuan Massacre.

"These are the words not only of a killer, but a liar as well. Andal Ampatuan insults the public's collective intelligence by trying to deflect the blame elsewhere. He lies as easily as he ordered the massacre of civilians and it's an even greater outrage that he expects us to believe that it was the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who did it. All too easily, he echoes the state security forces who blame the New Peoples Army (NPA) for the extrajudicial killings of legal activists on the bizarre reason that the latter can in turn put the blame on the government,” Ocampo said. #




Press Release
November 25, 2009


Davao City ---- Condemning the massacre in Maguindanao which killed nearly 50 civilians, including local politicians, members of the press and lawyers, Anakpawis sounded off an alarm that the massacre could lead to more wanton acts of violence, political persecution and human rights abuses as the May 10 polls nears.

“The Maguindanao massacre reflects the culture of impunity prevailing in the country, especially surrounding the May 10 elections. We condemn this monstrosity and join the rest of the Mindanaons and Bangsamoro people in their grief and support their calls for justice,” decried Pedro Arnado, regional coordinator of Anakpawis Southern Mindanao.

“The culpability of this atrocious act, the lawlessness that prevails in Maguindanao falls nowhere else but on the hands of the Arroyo government as well as the military leadership,” Arnado added.

No less than Rep. Didagen Dilangalen of the 1st District of Maguindanao, professed in a television interview, about the lawlessness in Maguindanao, particularly in terms of the lack of arms control in the area.

Arnado also challenged the Arroyo government to probe without bias the alleged connection of the Ampatuan clan, who are staunch administration allies, in the bloody massacre.

“The patronage politics of the Arroyo administration has allowed the political dynasty’s fascist rule in many parts of the Mindanao,” Arnado said.

Arnado recounted that Maguindanao votes, dubbed in 2007 elections as “the miraculous votes,” gave the Arroyo administration a 12-0 landslide victory. In 2004, Maguindanao tally contributed to the much – contested 1.1 Million vote lead of President Arroyo to Fernando Poe Jr.

“After nine years of paying lip service to resolving the peace conflict in Muslim Mindanao, the Arroyo administration is now faced with the repercussions of condoning the atmosphere of violence in Mindanao from where it sources out “miraculous” votes that it liberally uses to stay in power. It must now answer to the people for this crime,” Arnado said. #

For Reference:
Regional Coordinator




Maguindanao massacre a signal fire
Anakpawis vows to keep eye on state-sponsored violence in 2010 polls

In the aftermath of the massacre in Maguindanao, “party-list of the poor” Anakpawis vowed today to expose and thwart election-related violence perpetrated by the military and police as it files its certiticate of candicacy at the Commission on Elections.

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said Anakpawis – the unified voice of workers, farmers, slum-dwellers, fisherfolk, and other poor sectors – shall mobilize its considerable membership to keep a vigilant eye on moves of Arroyo allies and government troops to sow fear and violence among parties and individuals seeking change.

“Rather than cower and refuse to participate in the elections in view of the brutal massacre, Anakpawis is even more determined to lead the people’s watch versus poll violence. We shall campaign for genuine representation of the poor in Congress while carefully watching the moves of the PNP and the AFP whose hands have again and again been proven bloody even in previous elections,” said KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“This we vow even as the AFP named Anakpawis, a day before the massacre, as one of its targets in the upcoming elections,” added Labog, referring to a recent statement of the 103rd Infantry Brigade (1003rd IB) of the AFP to residents of Compostela Valley.

In a statement published by the Public Information Agency in its website, the military labeled Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, KMU, among others, as “terrorist organizations” and as “front organizations” of the National Democratic Front, an allegation which Labog said the Arroyo regime has used to justify the extra-judicial killings and abductions of critics.

“Such statement by the military clearly portends more election-related killings similar or perhaps even worse than what the Ampatuans and their private army orchestrated. It serves as a proof that Gloria Arroyo, the commander-in-chief, has reiterated her order to silence progressives in the run-up to the 2010 elections,” said Labog.

“Once again, Anakpawis is put at the military’s crosshairs. In the months prior to and after the 2007 elections, many of our members were gunned down and harassed. Next year, it appears that the armed forces are poised to do the same,” he Labog.

KMU said that despite the state-sponsored campaign against Anakpawis, the party-list succeeded in gaining two Congress seats in the 14th Congress. It was also able to establish chapters at the municipal, provincial and regional level, proving that the government did not succeed in discrediting party-lists which push for the interests of the poor and marginalized. #

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234




For cultivating culture of barbarism, coddling criminal allies
Arroyo liable for Maguindanao massacre

Amid posturing to be pursuing justice in the Maguindanao massacre, KMU maintains that Mrs. Arroyo’s political moves during her presidency are also to blame for the massacre.

The Nov. 23 massacre is widely believed to be perpetrated by the private army of Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., a member of the powerful Ampatuan clan whose head, Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, is a close ally of the president. Various groups have been calling on Mrs. Arroyo to go after the Ampatuans for the crime.

“We don’t think Mrs. Arroyo will go after the Ampatuans. Her regime, after all, has set the stage for such a level of barbarity. For one, more than a thousand people have died because of extrajudicial killings since she became president and no one has yet been punished for it,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Her regime has brought about a climate of impunity in the country. Recall her brazen praise for Jovito Palparan, a well-known butcher, in one of her state of the nation speeches. Such a move can only foster an atmosphere conducive to committing crimes and barbarities,” Labog added.

Strengthening the Ampatuan army

Labog also wondered about how much of Mrs. Arroyo’s support to the Ampatuans went into strengthening the political clan’s private army in Maguindanao province.

“We know that it is not principles which hold Mrs. Arroyo’s party together, but the moolah she showers on her allies. We wonder how much of Mrs. Arroyo’s support to the clan went into procuring weapons and beefing up private armies,” Labog said.

Despicable cronies

The labor center also said that Mrs. Arroyo’s record shows that she tries to keep her allies despite their negative record and proven culpability for various crimes.

“’No ally is too small or too despicable’ is Mrs. Arroyo’s motto when it comes to keeping political allies. She has coddled many government officials who were accused of wrongdoing. She has pardoned many criminals who hail from wealthy and influential families,” Labog said.

“She has been true to her motto – from Joc-joc to Jovito to Jalosjos. Instead of getting jail terms, these despicable people got protection from this regime.”

State of evasion

KMU said the declaration of state of emergency over Maguindanao may just be a government tactic so that it may appear resolute in solving the crime, while allowing those responsible among the Ampatuans to evade arrest and prosecution.

“The declaration isn’t necessary. All she has to do is arrest the Ampatuans. She may just be causing some commotion so the Ampatuans can escape – a squid tactic,” said Labog. #




KMU dares Palace: Reveal meeting w/ Ampatuans on day of massacre

Kilusang Mayo Uno challenged Malacañang today to fully disclose the meeting between Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio, ARMM Gov. Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, and Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan held at Malacañang on Monday, the day when the massacre was committed.

“If there’s really a of sincerity in Arroyo’s ‘vow to pursue justice’ for the Maguindanao massacre victims, she should reveal their talks with the Ampatuans in her own backyard first,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“What the hell were the Ampatuans doing and talking about in Malacañang while their men rain bullets and rape the journalists, civilians, and their political enemies in Maguindanao? Arroyo and the Ampatuans have been silent and evasive on that meeting. And this only raises more suspicion that it was a meeting of the bosses to ensure the success of their murder plan at their safe house that is Malacañang,” said Labog.

“And they seem to be unfazed at all, because the day after when the massacre was uncovered, Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs met with the Ampatuans again. Arroyo and minions just continue to chimmy-chummy with the criminals amid all the fingers that point to them.”

Cultivating the criminal

KMU recalled Andal Ampatuan’s declaration last national elections that he will award one million pesos to every mayor who will ensure landslide victory for Arroyo and her Team Unity party. And true enough, the very dubious 93.5% voters’ turnout in Maguindanao voted 12-0 for team unity.

KMU also cited Arroyo's Executive Order 546, issued October 2006, as “license for the growth of warlordism” of the Ampatuans, and other political clans as well. The EO allowed local officials and the police to create civilian armies to further the fight against “insurgents.”

The Ampatuans are now believed to have a 500-strong army, including 200 special armed auxiliary forces in the guise of Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVO) against insurgency.

“For justice to be served, the reign of they who will do everything to remain in power must be ended,” said Labog. #




27 November 2009


Rep. Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party today challenged the Arroyo administration to immediately issue preventive suspension orders on all Ampatuans holding public office and arrest State forces allegedly involved in the massacre that killed at least 57 people in Maguindanao, especially within the 36 hour-period when the Department of Justice will ascertain the liability of Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. in the incident.

Maza cited Sec.63 of the Local Government Code (LGC) which may be imposed by no less than the President when “evidence of guilt is strong, and given the gravity of the offense, there is great probability that the continuance in the office of the respondents could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence.

Aside from Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who is mayor of Shariff Aguak, the following Ampatuans are local chief executives in their respective areas: Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. (Maguindanao Governor), Sajid Islam Ampatuan (Maguindanao Vice Governor), and Zaldy Ampatuan (ARMM Governor).

“If President Arroyo is giving more weight and maintaining her good relations with the Ampatuans than the Filipino people’s clamor for justice, then she better resign as well. We do not want to think that she would also use her position to sway the entire process of giving justice to the victims and their families,” said Maza.

Maza also stressed that officers and members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the province should also be arrested for their alleged involvement and possible complicity in the incident. Among those police officials involved is Chief Inspector Zukarno Adil Dicay, Maguindanao PNP provincial director, who was seen by witnesses as among the armed men led by Ampatuan Jr. ###

For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0915-9329407



25 November 2009
Reference: Connie Bragas-Regalado, Chairperson, 09279268984
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994

Justice for the Victims of Maguindanao Massacre!

Migrante Sectoral Party extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the recent massacre in Maguindanao. Overseas Filipino Workers all over the world and their families are one with all peace-loving Filipinos in seeking justice for the victims and in calling for an end to these kinds of atrocities.

The brazenness and brutality with which the Maguindanao massacre was carried out underscores the fact that the perpetrators, the Ampatuan clan allied with the Arroyo administration, are unafraid that justice will catch up with them. This comes as no surprise.

Let us be reminded that the Arroyo administration holds the record of having the largest number of political killings and harassment, almost all the perpetrators of which have gone unpunished. President Arroyo’s personal hand in crafting the vicious counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya has led to indiscriminate bombings and summary executions of civilians by the military in the countryside. In warlord strongholds such as Maguindanao, the military and police authorities are inutile in protecting the citizens and are even being used as accessories to crime. Thus, we believe that Arroyo herself is responsible for perpetuating the prevailing culture of violence and impunity, of which the Maguindanao massacre is the latest and most deeply shocking consequence.

This massacre is a wake-up call for all OFWs worldwide—it is a reminder of the economic backwardness and political violence that characterizes provinces such as Maguindanao, which they have left behind for lack of better options. Many OFWs are refugees from the ongoing war in Mindanao, fuelled by militarization and administration-backed warlordism. We are concerned that incidents such as the Maguindanao massacre will make refugees, and eventually migrant workers, out of residents gripped by overwhelming fear. Filipinos deserve a life of peace and opportunities in their own homes, a life that so far has been denied them as evidenced by ever-increasing overseas deployment.

For the Arroyo administration to prove that democracy still works and that citizens can still look forward to the dispensation of justice in the country, it must make the Ampatuan clan and local and police and military officials face the full wrath of the law. The whole OFW community is watching very closely and will erupt in protest over any indication of whitewash of the investigation or kid gloves treatment of the perpetrators.

Migrante is one with the Filipino people in grieving the deaths of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and the slow death of the nation through fascistic rule.###





League of Filipino Students
Vinzons Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

November 26, 2009

Students Demand Arrest of Ampatuans! Gloria Accountable for Kid-Glove Treatment!
Thousands March to Malacanang to Condemn Maguindanao Killlings, Electoral Violence

The League of Filipino Students and other allied youth organizations numbering more than a thousand will march to Malacanang on Thursday to demand justice for the killings in Maguindanao, adding that accountability again rests on the Malacanang for coddling the Ampatuans during Mrs. Arroyo’s entire term of office.

“In the ultimate analysis, accountability for the Maguindanao massacre rests on the doorsteps of Malacanang. It is Mrs. Arroyo’s longs-standing political partnership with the Ampatuans that had created the conditions for bloody warlordism in Maguindanao.” This was the statement of Terry Ridon, National Chairperson of the League of Filipino Students, as the LFS criticized the reactive, even theatrical response of the Arroyo government to the killings when such warlordism and brazen display of political power had been exercised by the Ampatuans from the very beginning.

Ridon said that Mrs. Arroyo relied heavily on the Ampatuans for the consolidation of political power in Southern Philippines, stating that it was the warlord family that delivered her 2004 presidential victory and ensured the 12-0 result of Mrs. Arroyo’s senatorial candidates in the 2007 elections in the province.

He added that the unresolved political killings of more than a thousand activists by suspected state agents helped create the culture of impunity that emboldened the Ampatuans to order the senseless killings even of innocent journalists and lawyers.

“Even the butcher Palparan has been praised and supported by this regime. No wonder Mrs. Arroyo feels any chills whenever the Ampatuan warlords visit the Palace.” Ridon said.

Ridon issued a warning to Malacanang, and vowed more protests to condemn the Maguindanao massacre and electoral violence – “We shall not let these murders be forgotten. The blame lies on you Mrs. Arroyo – for coddling butchers, murderers and warlords during the entirety of your regime.”


Terry Ridon, National Chairperson, League of Filipino Students




League of Filipino Students
Vinzons Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

November 26, 2009

Thousands of Students to March to Malacanang to Condemn Maguindanao Killlings, Electoral Violence

The League of Filipino Students and other allied youth organizations numbering more than a thousand will march to Malacanang on Thursday to demand justice for the killings in Maguindanao, adding that accountability again rests on the Malacanang for coddling the Ampatuans during Mrs. Arroyo’s entire term of office.

“In the ultimate analysis, accountability for the Maguindanao massacre rests on the doorsteps of Malacanang. It is Mrs. Arroyo’s longs-standing political partnership with the Ampatuans that had created the conditions for bloody warlordism in Maguindanao.” This was the statement of Terry Ridon, National Chairperson of the League of Filipino Students, as the LFS criticized the reactive, even theatrical response of the Arroyo government to the killings when such warlordism and brazen display of political power had been exercised by the Ampatuans from the very beginning.

Ridon said that Mrs. Arroyo relied heavily on the Ampatuans for the consolidation of political power in Southern Philippines, stating that it was the warlord family that delivered her 2004 presidential victory and ensured the 12-0 result of Mrs. Arroyo’s senatorial candidates in the 2007 elections in the province.

He added that the unresolved political killings of more than a thousand activists by suspected state agents helped create the culture of impunity that emboldened the Ampatuans to order the senseless killings even of innocent journalists and lawyers.

“Even the butcher Palparan has been praised and supported by this regime. No wonder Mrs. Arroyo feels any chills whenever the Ampatuan warlords visit the Palace.” Ridon said.

Ridon issued a warning to Malacanang, and vowed more protests to condemn the Maguindanao massacre and electoral violence – “We shall not let these murders be forgotten. The blame lies on you Mrs. Arroyo – for coddling butchers, murderers and warlords during the entirety of your regime.”


Terry Ridon, National Chairperson, League of Filipino Students


UP Community Indignation Rally vs the Ampatuan Massacre

UP Diliman campus, November 27, 2009

▼ Photos by Mykel Andrada



Statement of UP Sectoral Regents on the Ampatuan Massacre

Statement of UP Sectoral Regents
Justice for the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre!
Justice for all victims of extra-judicial killings in the country
Arroyo must go!
November 27, 2009

We, the elected representatives to the Board of Regents of the students, faculty and staff (both administrative and non-teaching academic personnel) of the University of the Philippines, join the people’s outrage over the brutal and brazen massacre of at least 57 Filipinos in Ampatuan, Maguindanao last November 23, 2009. Fourteen women including two human rights lawyers, 27 journalists and five Tacurong local government employees who were not even part of the convoy were among those brutally killed.

Justice for the victims and their families demand that those directly responsible for the slaughter should be immediately arrested and put in prison. But this is not enough.

The Arroyo administration has to be held accountable not only for coddling provincial warlords such as the Ampatuans but for creating the climate of impunity that has led to the occurrence of numerous extra-judicial killings, abductions of political activists, and massacres in the country. From January 2001 to March 2009, human rights organizations in the country have documented 1,013 victims of extra-judicial killings and 202 victims of enforced disappearances including UP students, Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Several days after the November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 13 days before December 10, International Human Rights Day, it is fitting and just that the UP Community declares once again its solidarity with the Filipino people to demand an end to the human rights violations in the country, to demand for justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and all victims of extra-judicial killings and to reiterate the demand that Arroyo must go.

Faculty Regent Student Regent Staff Regent



Statement of the UP Manila Political Science Committee on the massacre in Maguindanao
Today at 11:19am
26 November 2009

The UP Manila Political Science Committee condemns in the strongest possible terms the latest case of election violence in Maguindanao.

November 23 will go down in history as a day of unparalleled evil and barbarity. More than 50 unarmed individuals, mostly women, media workers, lawyers and members of the Mangudadatu clan, were butchered in an attempt to preserve what appears to be a monolithic kingdom ruled by the Ampatuans in Maguindanao.

The massacre in Maguindanao comes as a shock to Filipinos and the rest of the world and happened in a time that has long forgone Stone Age barbarism and arbitrariness for rule of law and due process.

The brutal killings did not only reveal the extent of lawless violence in several areas in the country but bare the bigger tragedy in Philippine politics – the continuing supremacy of established political clans who act as impervious and invincible gods. It’s further proof that nothing has essentially changed and that the country remains a confederacy of fiefs ‘owned’ by a few affluent families.

The overconcentration of power in the hands of political dynasties has been sustained and reinforced by brokerage-style politics that has come to characterize the current regime.

Political patronage allowed warlordism and a culture of impunity to thrive in Maguindanao and other parts of the country in exchange for political support from the Ampatuans and other influential political clans for the vulnerable Arroyo presidency. Since 2001, the Ampatuans intermittently ruled the province and were largely credited for delivering the votes for Mrs. Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections and giving the administration ticket a 12-0 win in the 2007 senatorial race.

As we grieve with the victims’ families and call for immediate justice, we also denounce the evident attempts of Malacanang to shield the Ampatuans from accountability. The failure of the Arroyo administration to act swiftly displays the government’s duplicity in bringing the perpetrators to justice. The mere fact that the government chose to send emissaries to the Ampatuans and not arresting officers despite clear evidence that indicate the involvement of specific persons shows its double standard and preferential treatment for its political ally.

We call on all Filipinos to remain vigilant. The gruesome massacre presages the possible escalation of cases of election violence and echoes circumstances that led to the fraudulent elections in 2004 and 2007. It poses a huge threat on the conduct and credibility of the upcoming automated elections and opens an opportunity for individuals and groups who want and stand to benefit in a no-election scenario.

We also call on Congress to pass pending measures prohibiting all forms of political dynasties and laying the foundations for genuine participatory democracy that provides equal opportunity for public service. #







U.P. Journ faculty statement on the Maguindanao Massacre: GMA should be made to account for coddling warlords and private armies
2009 November 24
tags: beheadings, election-related violence, journalist killings, Maguindanao Massacre, murders, Rape, U.P. College of Mass Communication
by marichulambino

Statement on
Journalists slaughtered in the line of duty

issued by the undersigned U.P. Journalism Faculty and the U.P. College of Mass Communication Dean. Journ Faculty: Prof. Georgina Encanto, Ph.D. (Feature-writing, History of the Press, Gender-sensitivity; former dean), Prof. Ma. Theresa Jazmines (PR, Advertising, Sports Journalism; former vice chancellor), Prof. Luis V. Teodoro (Ethics, Fundamentals of Journalism; former dean), Prof. Rachel Khan (Newsreporting, Ethics; former chair), Lucia Tangi (Newsreporting), Lecturer Teresa Congjuico (Publication Design), Lecturer Eleanor Agulto (Advertising), Lecturer Fernando del Mundo (Investigative Reporting), Lecturer Dennis Sabangan (Photojournalism), and Prof. Marichu Lambino (Media Law, Fundamentals; Chair, Journalism Dep’t) and U.P. CMC Dean Prof. Rolando Tolentino, Ph.D. This statement is being routed for signature of the college faculty.

The mutilated bodies of journalists Ian Subang (Dadiangas Times), Leah Dalmacio (Forum), Gina dela Cruz (Today), Marites Cablitas (Today), Joy Duhay (UNTV), Henry Araneta (DZRH), Andy Teodoro (Mindanao Inquirer), Neneng Montaño (formerly of RGMA), Bong Reblando, (Manila Bulletin), Victor Nuñez (UNTV), Macmac Ariola (UNTV), Jimmy Cabillo (UNTV), Bart Maravilla (Bombo Radyo, Koronadal) and lawyers Cynthia Oquendo and Connie Brizuela were recovered hours after they had set out to cover the filing of certificates of candidacy by the wife of a local official in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao yesterday.

The journalists and media practitioners were part of a convoy of some 44 unarmed civilians, most of them women, who were waylaid on their way to the Comelec office. According to reports, the skulls of some of the victims were shattered with bullets, their faces crushed beyond recognition, the women raped, and some of the other victims beheaded.

This is the largest number of journalists killed in one single incident anywhere in the world and comes amid local and international concern over deadly attacks on media people.

While the killings were the result of the long-running feud between the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus, both maintain private armies that the government has failed to disband. The President relies on her allies to deliver votes to Malacañang, some of whom maintain heavily armed goons beyond the pale of law. Covering elections has become a dangerous trade for journalists in this country. The massacre is in short the direct consequence of the state of lawlessness in Maguindanao abetted by the Arroyo regime, in the same manner that it abets and in some cases even encourages, extra judicial killings– and in the case of journalists, encourages further killings through its indifference.

While the massacre was being perpetrated, the President’s chief political adviser was in fact shaking hands with the Ampatuans in Malacañang yesterday, even as the PNP chief for Maguindanao refused to respond when the victims were calling him up by cellphone.

In an obvious attempt at benefitting from the brutal killings—and in tacit admission that the military and police cannot do anything to prevent further violence without special powers– the presidential adviser on the peace process, Jesus Dureza, could only propose the declaration of a state of emergency in Maguindanao.

The country has been down that road before, and we know where it leads: to further violence as the police and military mask their partisanship for the various groups fighting for power in the province; as well as to further abuse as they impose the will of their patrons on the citizenry.

The Department of Journalism of the U.P. College of Mass Communication holds the Arroyo government accountable for the continuing state of lawless violence in Maguindanao and other parts of the country.

We demand that the President be made to account for the murders and mayhem perpetrated by her allies and for her continued coddling of warlords and private armies. We demand the immediate arrest of the thugs armed with unlicensed firearms as well as their bosses, and the immediate arrest and detention of the perpetrators of the crime and its masterminds regardless of political party.

Mrs. Arroyo should otherwise relinquish control of the AFP units in the area to the Comelec. Her failure to act decisively would not only demonstrate that she has no control over those areas where her allies rule. It would also show that she has a conflict of interest—between her public duty to protect the life of every Filipino on the one hand, and on the other, her interest in coddling the warlords who have delivered votes for her administration in the past regardless of their cost in lives, and on whom she will once again depend in May, 2010.

Statement of undersigned faculty members of the Department of Journalism, and by the Dean of the U.P. College of Mass Communication (the statement is being routed college-wide for signature of members of the college faculty). 24 Nov. 2009

(in alphabetical order)

Eleanor Agulto, Lecturer, PR and Advertising
Teresa Congjuico, Lecturer, Publication Design & Lay-out
Fernando del Mundo, Lecturer, Investigative Reporting
Prof. Georgina Encanto, Ph.D, Professor, Feature-writing, History of the Press, Gender-Sensitivity
Prof. Theresa “Tessa” Jazmines, Professor, PR,
Advertising, Sports Journalism
Prof. Rachel Khan, Professor, Newsreporting,
Fundamentals of Journalism, Ethics
Prof. Marichu Lambino, Chair, Dep’t of Journalism (Media Law, Ethics, Fundamentals)
Dennis Sabangan, Lecturer, Photojournalism
Lucia Tangi, Instructor, Newsreporting, History of thePress
Former dean, Prof. Luis Teodoro, Professorial Lecturer,
Ethics, Fundamentals, etc.
Prof. Rolando Tolentino, Ph.D, Dean, U.P. College of
Mass Communication



November 26, 2009

Youth and students call for justice, hold Arroyo accountable for
“coddling mass murderers, perpetuating culture of impunity”

Youth and student groups marched to Mendiola today to call for justice for the victims of the massacre in Maguindanao, while holding the Arroyo regime accountable for “coddling mass murderers and perpetuating a culture of impunity throughout its reign.”

Led by youth organizations Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan, National Union of Students of the Philippines and College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the youth and students wore black shirts and red armbands to condemn the massacre which has claimed 57 persons to date, including two lawyers, scores of journalists and women.

“Today, we call on the Filipino people to transform their grief into indignation, and show our outrage over the bloodshed brought about by the prevailing system of violence, terror and warlordism,” League of Filipino Students chairperson Terry Ridon said.

Ridon also said that in a 2008 report, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) said that Arroyo issued Executive Order 856 allowing the formation of so-called “civilian volunteer organizations” which only “justified the existence of private armies.”

National Union of Students of the Philippines president Alvin Peters, meanwhile, said “They have enjoyed the protection and tolerance of the current regime, which badly needed them to cling on to power. Six months before the 2010 elections, we still remember that Maguindanao was one of the provinces reported with incidents of massive fraud both in the 2004 and 2007 elections, in favor of the administration.”

End culture of impunity

Before marching to Mendiola, indoor protest actions were held in different schools and universities, such as St. Scholastica’s College, University of the Philippines Diliman and Manila, Philippine Normal University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines and Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology among many others.

College Editors Guild of the Philippines president Vijae Alquisola said calls for justice should reverberate nationwide to end the culture of impunity favored by the current regime.

“Throughout Arroyo’s reign, not one case of political killing has been solved. The Arroyo regime has favored a culture of impunity so that she herself can get away from the thousands of human rights violations committed under her command,” Alquisola said.

Warlord of warlords

Meanwhile, Student Christian Movemenf of the Philippines chaiperson Cristina Guevarra called Arroyo “the warlord of all warlords.”

“Arroyo is no less than the warlord of all warlords in this country. Time and again, she has coddled mass murderers and favored military might over the people’s will. She has honored and put butchers in the pedestal,” Guevarra said.

Guevarra also lambasted Malacañang’s declaration of Thursday as a day of mourning, saying it is merely doing lip service while further insulting the victims’ families who cry for justice.

Warlordism a product of the rotten system

For his part, Anakbayan chairperson said that warlordism in politics is characteristic of the rotten system that the people have to rise up against.

“The rich few, with the help of the state, use violence against the people to cling on to power and protect their vested interests. History has proven that they will do anything to maintain the status quo. We need genuine change now, and put an end to this rotten system that has claimed thousands of lives,” Ramos said.###

References: Ma. Cristina Guevarra, SCMP 09186106275
Ken Ramos, Anakbayan 09215129678
Terry Ridon, League of Filipino Students 09158513904


Gabriela Women's Partylist marks International Day of Violence against Women,

remember women human rights defenders Atty. Connie Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo killed in the Ampatuan massacre.
Davao City, Nov. 25, 2009
▼ Photos  emailed by Gabriela Women's Paretylist▼



NEWS RELEASE with Photos
25 November 2009

GABRIELA CONDEMNS BRUTAL KILLING IN MAGUINDANAO; to mark International Day of Violence against Women today (Nov. 25)

Davao City-- Rep. Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party today condemned the brutal killing of at least forty-four (47) people in Maguindanao. Among those killed were seventeen (17) women, journalists, and lawyers Cynthia Oquendo and Connie Brizuela who are both members of the Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL). Atty. Connie Brizuela is also an active member of Gabriela in North Cotabato.

They were among the group of more than 50 local politicians, journalists and lawyers allegedly abducted by several heavily armed men in Ampatuan town yesterday (Nov.23).

“We condemn in the strongest terms this massacre in Maguindanao. This is barbaric and a naked display of impunity. We call on the authorities to immediately help and secure the rest of the victims who are still under hostage. Their safety and security should be government’s top priority now,” Maza said.

The Gabriela Womens Partylist will hold a picket rally today in the commemoration of the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women. The said protest paid tribute to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and all victims of state sponsored violence.

“Kailangang managot at maparusahan ang gumawa ng karumaldumal na krimen na ito,” said Maza.

Maza also expressed her sympathy to the victims and their families and vowed her utmost support in their call for justice.

Nisa Opalla Spokesperson of Gabriela in Southern Mindanao said “the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women is a tribute also to the courageous Mirabal sisters who were brutally killed by then dictator Gen. Trujillo in Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960.

Gabriela is also commemorating the 1st year death anniversary of Jovelyn Villanueva, a liaison staff of Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, who was a supporter of Bayan Muna and was shot in Tagum City.

Opalla said “that in times of political turmoil, dictatorship, and fascism , women are not spared of state violence, this is how desperate political elites rule.”

"The barbaric incident in Maguindanao is also an indication of the grave human rights landscape in the Philippines under the Arroyo government, where the old guns, goons and gold still rule," she added.

“We are calling all groups and individuals, who believe in genuine change, peace and justice to unite, let us show our rage against this barbaric act, let there be justice against ruthless killings” said Opalla.###

For reference:
Nisa Opalla
Gabriela Womens Party Spokesperson


Video clips



If We Were In Their Place

9 photos

Burial is the most painful episode of our final journey with the recently deceased, for burial snap off the thread that links us intimately with a loved one. Great photos courtesy of Reuters, Reporters Without Borders, Associated Press etc.


Updated yesterday
Created November 26

View Album


The Crime Scene (Exhumation)

12 photos

Presented photos courtesy of Associated Press, Reuters, Reporters Without Borders etc. We featured photos of the gruesome scene that pops out all over the internet.


Updated November 26
Created November 25

View Album


Et Lux Perpetua (And Eternal Light)

9 photos

Candlelighting, requiems and protests for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre as a pursuit for justice for them. Courtesy of Associated Press, Reuters, Reporters Without Borders etc.


Updated yesterday
Created November 25

View Album