December 8, 2009
For reference: Atty. Beverly Selim-Musni, convenor, contact #:
President Arroyo capitalizing on Ampatuan
Massacre to stay in power
diminishes the barbarity of crime
InPeace Mindanao denounces the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao
as a ploy of the Arroyo administration to strengthen its hold to power.
Official pronouncements proposing an extension of Martial Law up to the
May 2010 polls and expanding it to other areas, lend credence to President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s toying with dictatorship as a means to stay in
The people have not demanded the imposition of Martial Law in order to
attain justice for the victims of this gruesome massacre. We have demanded
that government take extraordinary political will, not extraordinary
military power, to go after the perpetrators of this crime.
The people have demanded that all levels of government, including
President Arroyo as commander-in-chief, be made accountable for being
accomplice, tolerant, or neglectful.
The Ampatuan Massacre has shown to the whole world that there is a culture
of killings in the Philippines because the military and police
establishment, including hawkish leaders of the civilian bureaucracy, are
providing arms to political warlords and feeding their private armies. It
has shown the broader picture that state security forces are maintaining
death squads that victimize activists, ordinary civilians, and petty
criminals. It is showing that US military aid and a big chunk of our
national budget goes to a failed counterinsurgency program that produces
militia monsters controlled by the military, police, and political allies.
At the very least, Congress should summon the military and PNP top brass,
including National Defense secretary and National Security Adviser
Norberto Gonzales, as well as former National Defense Secretary Gilbert
Teodoro, to explain the DND markings on seized firearms and ammunition
from the Ampatuan militia.
The Arroyo government should likewise explain why it has failed to
decisively dismantle the Ampatuan political machinery and militia base by
arresting the suspected masterminds immediately after the crime. It had
given the Ampatuans lead time to hide evidence and consolidate their
Perhaps the hesitation was for a deal to allow their escape from criminal
culpability. Legal experts have pointed out that once the case of
rebellion against the Ampatuans is dismissed, so goes the subsumed murder
case against them as well. The rebellion charges filed against the
Ampatuans diminishes the barbarity of the massacre to a bailable political
offense. The point is that the Arroyo government is doing a legal
hocus-pocus that we see will eventually disentangle the Ampatuan warlords
from this grievous crime.
We are outraged that another injustice is done by Arroyo to the victims’
families. We are outraged by her failure to give what is due and what is
right. We are angered that justice is made more unattainable with Arroyo’s
use of the Ampatuan Massacre as a launching pad for her selfish desire to
stay in power. We are also aghast on how insensitive Arroyo is by using
the gory images of the Ampatuan massacre to justify the imposition of
Martial Law. It is an affront to the memory of the victims and their cry
for true justice. (Mrs. Arroyo had no qualms showing those photos when,
in fact, they show the ineptness of police forensic evidence gathering).
As in the past, Martial Law will only spawn more human rights violations
especially in the Bangsamoro areas and will not guarantee a decisive
crackdown and eventual conviction of the masterminds of this grotesque and
hideous mass murder.
NO TO MARTIAL LAW!
JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF THE AMPATUAN