Remembering the Ampatuan Massacre of 58 civilians

 

Maguindanao

 

November 23,  2010

 

■    Marking the 1st anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre in Metro Manila

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Photos by Karlos Manlupig
   
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  ▼  Photos courtesy of Karlos Manlupig  ▼  
     
     

 

News Release
Nobyembre 23, 2010
Reference: Evangeline Hernandez, Hustisya! national chairperson, 09158562151

Victims, kin express solidarity to families of Ampatuan massacre victims Dismantle para-military groups, Aquino told

GENERAL SANTOS – Families of victims of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations under the banner of Hustisya! (Unity for Justice) expressed solidarity to the families of the Ampatuan
massacre victims as they join the different activities today one year after the gruesome massacre of 57 individuals.

Hustisya! national chairperson Evangeline Hernandez went to Mindanao to join the families and friends in the activities today, including the caravan from General Santos going to Maguindanao where they will offer prayers and messages to the families.

In Manila, a torch march will commence at Morayta going to Mendiola led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. Victims and their families shall join both activities, as well as in activities held in different parts of the country.

“On behalf of all the families of victims of political repression, we express our sympathy and solidarity will all the victims, and demand that justice may finally be given to all the victims and their families,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is mother of Benjaline Hernandez, deputy secretary general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, massacred along with two others while on a fact-finding mission in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato in 2002.

“We understand the pain of losing a loved one, and not getting any justice after long years of waiting. Let us not allow this to happen again and again to every family, especially to the families of the
Ampatuan massacre victims. They need justice now,” she said.

Aquino told: Dismantle para-military groups, prosecute Arroyo Hustisya! strongly called for the dismantling of para-military groups, which serve as auxiliary groups for the military, as they are being
used to sow fear and terror among the people.

“Allowing such to exist and persist despite countless cases of human rights violations including the Ampatuan massacre perpetuates state-sponsored violence. They are far more dangerous than so-called private armies because in the first place, they are allowed to exist by the state,” Hernandez said.

AFP said that it will not dismantle the para-military groups sends a chilling effect to the victims and the people.

“Aquino’s sincerity in ending impunity and warlordism begins with the dismantling of these armed groups,” she added.

The group also demanded to prosecute not only the Ampatuans but also president-turned-congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Thousands were killed, including 58 in the Ampatuan massacre, and Arroyo as the former commander-in-chief of the AFP sits comfortably in the halls of Congress? As the AFP’s present commander-in-chief, Pres. Aquino should know the bloody hand of Arroyo in all the killings.
Arroyo should be prosecuted immediately,” Hernandez ended.


Hustisya! said it shall continue to call for justice, as long as it remains elusive to the victims of the Ampatuan massacre, and to all victims of state-sponsored violence. ###
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Hustisya! is a national organizations of victims, their families and supporters of victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of political repression. It was founded in 2006 at the height of extrajudicial killings under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Now, it continues as an organization that shall gather and unite all victims of political repression under any government, with chapters in almost all regions of the country composed of victims, their families and supporters

 

     
     
           
     
     
     


Press Release
23 November 2010

KARAPATAN CALLS ON PNOY FOR CAFGU DISMANTLING AS PART OF JUSTICE TO THE AMPATUAN MASSACRE VICTIMS

AS THE NATION commemorates the first anniversary of the November 23 Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, the national alliance of human rights groups, KARAPATAN, called for the dismantling of the Citizen's Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU) and all paramilitary units used by political warlords as their private armies. “Like other sectors, we in Karapatan, also express our sympathies for the families of victims of the gruesome carnage and our unity with them in their call for justice, one year after,” said Marie Hilao Enriquez, chairperson of the human rights Alliance.

"It's public knowledge and an open secret that state-sponsored paramilitary groups are being widely used by feudal warlords as a pillar of support for their political and landed interests to the detriment of human rights. The Ampatuan massacre in which 57 civilians were killed, is a grim reminder of the prevailing culture of impunity surrounding these forces," Marie Hilao-Enriquez added.

"It is high time that Malacanang consider disbanding these state-sponsored armed groups. President Aquino, as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, should take the initiative in doing so.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its own report this November entitled, "They Own the People: The Ampatuans, State-Backed Militias, and the Killings in the Southern Philippines," calling for an executive order "banning all paramilitary and militia forces" and for the PNP and AFP to disarm them.

Aside from the CAFGU, the HRW recommended to ban and disarm Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs), Police Auxiliary Units (PAUs) and even barangay tanods. There are also tribal groups being used as part of the auxiliary forces of the military, such as Bungkatol Liberation Front (BULIF), Intergrated Tribal Defense Forces (ITDF formerly ALAMAKA), Bagani Force, Salakawan Force. These have brought disunity in the tribal communities"

The AFP command has reportedly admitted that they cannot let go of the CAFGUs, otherwise their regular forces of ten divisions would be spread too thinly. They repeatedly pronounced though the media that human rights would be respected.

"The AFP's so-called respect for human rights has been belied by the killing of civilians Leonardo Co and his two companions in Leyte last November 15. There are numerous cases pointing to the utter disregard of the AFP for human rights -- from the martial law years to the present. State-sponsored militias and even private vigilante groups have been used by the AFP time and again in committing grave human rights violations. Banning and disarming them would be a good start in ending the culture of impunity in the country," Enriquez said.

"Fundamentally, state violence has relied on US military support but is applied widely at the grassroots by local warlords through political patronage. The nation and the world has seen the result of Macapagal-Arroyo’s coddling of the Ampatuans, if the Aquino government is really set to walk its talk of “daang matuwid”(righteous path) it must now stop state violence and terrorism at all levels. It can start by doing away with the counter-insurgency programs and weeding out the armed militias of political clans as their base of support and conduit for war,” Enriquez concluded. ###
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National Union of peoples' Lawyers
NEWS RELEASE
November 23, 2010
REFERENCE: Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Secretary-General
Cellphone Number: 0917-5113373

IN COMMEMORATION OF THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE
Peoples’ Lawyers Group Joins Call for Justice and An End to Impunity

In commemoration of the first year anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) joins the nation and the international community in the call for justice to the victims of the brutal massacre which claimed the lives of 57 victims. Two feisty members of the NUPL, Attys. Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo were among those who were killed on November 23, 2009.

In a press statement, the NUPL, speaking through its Secretary-General, Atty. Edre U. Olalia, called for an end to the climate of impunity that has blanketed the country, making the Philippines one of the most dangerous places for journalists and lawyers.

“There should be an end to the rampant killing of journalists, social activists and even lawyers in the country. The Maguindanao Massacre is a concrete example of the state of human rights in the country today where extrajudicial killings have been a recurrent nightmare and an institutionalized manner of quelling dissent and the search for truth and change,” Olalia stated.

“‘To be unable to put a stop to the bloody record of the administration of Gloria Arroyo, deny justice to the victims, and fail to institute decisive measures against state-sanctioned paramilitary groups would be tantamount to making the present administration of Noynoy Aquino complicit in this outrage,” Olalia added..

“Justice must be immediately accorded to the families of the victims in this gruesome and brazen killing of very vulnerable community-based journalists and other innocent civilians.”

The NUPL further noted that despite the national and international uproar, most of the perpetrators remain at large and the suspected masterminds – members of the Ampatuan clan – despite being in jail, apparently continue to enjoy the luxuries of comfort, influence and political accommodation.

The peoples’ lawyers group likewise called for the speedy disposition of the case and for the court to thwart the dilatory tactics being employed by the Ampatuans It supports the widespread clamor to open the court proceedings to public scrutiny under certain reasonable safeguards.

“Let us all remember and we must not forget. Let us all be vigilant in our quest for justice and our struggle to put an end to rampant human rights violations which continue to plague us ,” Olalia further stated, citing an alarming rise of incidents of extrajudicial killings of members of militant organizations under the Aquino administration and its wishy-washy rhetorics. # # #
 

     
           
     
     
     

 

Remembering the Ampatuan Massacre

Communist Party of the Philippines
November 23, 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the entire revolutionary movement join the Filipino people in marking the first anniversary of the hideous massacre in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, where 57 people, including journalists and political rivals of the Ampatuan warlord clan were mercilessly slaughtered.

We join the relatives, colleagues and friends of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and the rest of the people in pressing for justice. The people worry that the way it is proceeding, the Ampatuan massacre trial may take years, or even decades, before it can be concluded. In the meantime, witnesses are being killed one after another, with many of them remaining under heavy threats and pressure. We denounce the delays and pathetically slow and tedious system of justice and support the widespread clamor for swift justice.

The Ampatuan warlord clan which aggrandized itself through feudal exactions, spoils of power, gross corruption and the indulgent support of the military and national political leadership continues to wallow in wealth, pomp and privilege, even as their leading figures happen to be under detention. The people of Maguindanao continue to suffer from feudal exploitation and fascist oppression. So do the mass of the impoverished and downtrodden people where feudal and fascist rule prevails, especially in the countryside, where feudal warlords in collaboration with local military and police forces are a power by themselves.

The system that engenders feudal warlordism continues to prevail throughout the country. Feudal power in wide swaths of the countryside continue to buttress the rotten reactionary state. Feudal lords such as the Ampatuans are propped up through the armed suppression of peasants and farm workers. Military and paramilitary units deployed in the countryside are treated as private armies and are at the disposal of these feudal warlords.

The supposed campaign of the national government to dismantle private armies remains a wimp of a call. Neither the rotten national government nor its military and police has shown any real determination to disband these armed groups. They matter most significantly in elections and intra-clan wars, and their important role in the reactionary government's "counterinsurgency" operations continues to be highly regarded.

The demand to dismantle private armies have persistently been raised for the past several decades. Not one reactionary regime has shown genuine resolve to do so. Marcos appeared to dismantle them only to absorb and utilize them under his supreme warlord and fascist rule. His successors even promoted the spread of paramilitary forces that became adjuncts of private armies as well as government military forces.

Recently, they have also become adjuncts of mining companies, corporate farms, haciendas and other big private enterprises. Like all past presidents, Aquino fails to address this demand. The way he protects his clan's Hacienda Luisita, and his camp of the biggest feudal warlords in the country--like Eduardo Cojuangco, Peping Cojuangco and others-- Aquino himself is now the biggest symbol of the feudal oligarchic rule in the Philippines.

In the course of advancing people's war, the people's armed revolutionary movement will continue to resist feudal warlordism and fascist suppression and act to dismantle and disarm private armies and paramilitary units alongside launching offensives against regular government military forces. The Filipino people seek the revolutionary overhaul of the ruling political and socio-economic system and the decimation of feudal warlordism alongside semifeudal and semicolonial rule throughout the country.

 

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After a year, the NDFP - Mindanao joins the people in continuing to call for: JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE! JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS!
Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao
November 23, 2010

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao (NDFP-Mindanao) joins with the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, together with media groups and the Filipino people, in demanding for justice and in challenging the Aquino III administration to prosecute and to mete out punishment for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Ampatuan warlords as perpetrators of the said atrocious crime.

A year after the massacre, the process to attain justice has become overly strained and snail-paced under Noynoy Aquino's watch. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has not yet been tried for her complicity in cases of grand malfeasance and of extra-judicial killings during her term. And, thus far, the current regime has offered nothing but the vague assurance that the case against the Ampatuan warlords would be "concluded within its six-year term."

The Aquino government is not serious and uses kid gloves in prosecuting the Ampatuans and in disbanding their private armies, giving the latter the propensity to downplay the court trials and thrash witnesses with bribe, threats and even murder.

Two senior members of the Ampatuan warlord clan may be behind bars for the murder of 57 civilians, but, back in their turf, their clan still holds governmental posts and their private army continues to operate. These armed goons of the Ampatuan warlords have committed scores of other acts of rape, torture and murder, which have somehow escaped investigation, broadcast through media and, even, retribution.

The Aquino regime is able to flaunt, at best, a semblance of its resolve to punish the culprits yet is unable to tear down the political power built by the Ampatuans as well as dismantle its private army. The fact is: Aquino III needs the Ampatuan war machine to neutralize the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the whole struggle of the Moro people in order to greatly satisfy US imperialist interests in the country.

These private armies operating as CAFGU or CAA and are in cahoots with the AFP and the PNP, are mainly used by the Ampatuan warlords (and in parallel, the private armies of Romarate in Surigao del Norte, of the Parojinogs in Misamis Occidental, of Jalosjos in Zamboanga del Sur, etc.) in carrying out their political manoeuvres and illicit activities, such as prohibited drugs, illegal numbers game and even the summary execution of their rivals.

It should be noted that it was the US-Arroyo regime that consolidated the Ampatuan dynasty for her election ticket in 2004 to deliver over a million votes.

The nine years of the Arroyo-Ampatuan clique in Mindanao launched the brutal assaults against the MILF and the entirety of the Moro revolutionary struggle through Oplan Bantay Laya 1 & 2. This resulted in the mass evacuations of millions of Moro and non-Moro peoples. These criminal acts have been tolerated concomitant to Arroyo's own extra-judicial killings of more than a thousand activists, of more than a hundred media workers and the perpetration of other suchlike human rights violations in the country.

Extra-judicial executions continue unabated under Aquino III, and are seen to become more virulent especially now that his US imperialist master foisted the full implementation of its counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy in the country. And, given the conscious lackadaisical attitude of the Aquino government towards the Ampatuan case and other cases of political murders, the killings would not stop in the next six years of its term.

Having to witness that a year has passed and the perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre still stand unpunished is great cause to resolutely struggle further for justice amid the tomfooleries of the Aquino government.

The Filipino people must ceaselessly press for the immediate dismantling of private armies and other such fascist instrumentalities wielded by the ruling clique to wreak fear, havoc and mass murder.

The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the people to unite and never lose sight of working towards the attainment of true justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and of extra-judicial killings!

With the Aquino regime deliberately ignoring and floundering along in its handling of the Maguindanao massacre case and of the numerous cases of extra-judicial killings, the only recourse available to the Filipino people for justice to be attained is through revolutionary justice!

 

 

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
 
     
           
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Arpil 23, 2010 Rage against injustice. Protesters, including lawyers and media groups, stormed the mansion of

the Ampatuans in Davao City in the commemoration of the 5th month of the Ampatuan Massacre.

 

▼  Photos by Karlos Manlupig  ▼

 

     
           

 

PAGGUNITA SA PAMAMASLANG
(Binasa sa komemorasyon ng ika-7 buwan ng Maguindanao Ampatuan masaker)
ni Bienvenido Lumbera

Tuwing umaga tumitilaok pa rin ang mga tandang,
Nag-iinat ang murang dahon ng damong ligaw,
Humahagibis ang trak ng military.
Sa hukay na inukab sa parang ng backhoe ng Ampatuan,
Nakanganga ang lupang naghihintay
Sa mga bangkay ng mga pinaslang.

Sa kagubatan, humihilab ang bunga ng durian,
At may isinasabog ang hangin na masangsang na halimuyak
Na pagdaan sa gilid ng nakangangang hukay
Ay mistulang amoy ng nalulusaw na laman.
Walang pakialam ang mga tandang, ang damong ligaw
At ang kumakaripas na mga sasakyan at ang hinog na durian,
Wala silang gunita na may naganap na pamamaslang.

Paano na ang mga inulila na naghihintay pa hanggang ngayon
Na malapatan ng katarungan ang mga berdugo at mastermind?
Sino ang babalot ng kumot sa bunsong giniginaw?
Papaano babahawin ang sugat ng malay
Ng asawang binalo ng pamamaslang?
Paano hihilumin ang pusong winindang ng biglang pasabi
Ang anak na wala namang kaaway ay walang awang pinatay?

Sumusubo ng pandesal ang abogado ng mga Ampatuan.
Minamasahe ni misis ang hita at baywang ng hukom.
Kinakamot ng burukratang kagigising lamang ang kanyang bayag
Habang tinutunghan ang pahayagan.
 

May nagmamartsang mga kabataan, may tarpulin na iwinawagayway:
Usigin ang mga Kriminal! Hustisya sa mga Biktima!
Ang pangkat ng mga manggagawa ay nagpipiket sa gate ng hukuman.
Nananawagang makilahok ang bayan sa paghingi ng katarungan
Ang mga pari at madreng nagdarasal.

Ang kabuktutan ng mga Ampatuan
Ay krimeng politikal na pinasikal
Ng Pangulong hayok sa kapangyarihan.
Wakasan ang pagtangkilik sa naghahari-harian,
Kamao ng hustisya, idagok sa mga kriminal!
Pag kimi ang pamahalaan, dumarahas ang sambayan.

*Programang inisponsor ng National Union of Journalists (NUJP), sa Broadcast City, Hunyo 23, 2010.
Bienvenido Lumbera
Chair, Concerned Artists of the Philipines {CAP}
Chair, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

April 23, 2010

No to Whitewash!
Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre!

We rage again for another injustice, as we remember the 5th month commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre. We, advocates for justice and peace must muster ourselves for a day of rage for the continuing injustice to the victims of the Ampatuan massacre aggravated by the callous decision of Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to drop charges against two suspected perpetrators of theAmpatuan Massacre.

We from Kalinaw Mindanao and Alliance Against Impunity in Mindanao (AIM) enjoin the people to collectively rage against injustice. We call for the reversal of Secretary Agra's decision and his immediate resignation.

Let us condemn the culture of impunity and whitewash! President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should be held accountable for the crimes committed by her political allies and the perpetuation of the culture of impunity and injustice in her role to absolve and coddle warlords and criminals like the Ampatuans.

President Arroyo’s failure to dismantle private armies and the eventual release of the Ampatuans will further intensify election-related violence in Maguindanao and possible retaliation against families who testified against the Ampatuans.

We call on candidates for this year’s national elections to condemn outright the government’s exoneration of the Ampatuans and the injustice suffered by the families.

We challenge the candidates to commit themselves in pursuing justice for the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre by ensuring that President Arroyo and other coddlers of political warlords and criminals are held accountable for the massacre. The next administration should pave the way for the filing of criminal charges and should support potential class suits from victims of human rights violations against Mrs. Arroyo even if she will imminently become a member of the House of Representatives or the Speaker of the House.

Let us condemn the ulterior motives of the Arroyo administration to perpetrate cheating and violence in the elections through the release of Zaldy Ampatuan, suspended governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Since 2001, the family has long played the role of ensuring the victory of candidates fielded by the Arroyo government and Mrs. Arroyo’s padded vote margin in 2004.

Let us continue our Fight and Rage Against Injustice!

For Reference:
Atty. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Alliance Against Impunity in Mindanao
Sr. Elsa Compuesto, MSM, Sisters Association in Mindanao
Amirah Ali Lidasan, Kalinaw Mindanao

Please Contact: KALINAW MINDANAO Secretariat: Mobile # 0929-351-0670 Telefax (82) 2994964 l Email kalinawmindanao@yahoo.com


 

 

April 23, 2010

ATTY. CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE and the rest of the lawyers of UPLM protested in front of the Ampatuan mansion in Davao City and spoke at a broad multisectoral solidarity vigil in commemoration of the 5th month commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre.

 

▲ Photos by Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM)  ▼

 

     
           
     
     
     

 

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Public Statement
ASA 35/005/2010
21 April 2010

Philippines: Handling of Maguindanao massacre case raises concerns about justice system

Dropping the charges against two prominent members of the Ampatuan family charged with involvement in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre three weeks before national elections smacks of placing politics before justice and human rights, Amnesty International said today.

The decision by the Department of Justice, on 17 April, a Saturday, to drop charges against Zaldy Ampatuan, Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Akmad Ampatuan, acting Vice Governor of Maguindanao province was based largely on their alibis showing that they were not in Maguindanao at the time of the massacre.

However, that they were not physically present during the murder is immaterial, as the two men were charged with conspiracy rather than direct participation. The timing and the manner in which the executive decision was made raises questions as to the reasons why the Secretary of Justice, a political appointee, intervened.

The worst pre-election violence in Philippine history—the Maguindanao massacre which killed 63 people including 33 journalists—focused global attention on the human rights situation in the country. The victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for a provincial gubernatorial candidate when they were ambushed and killed by armed men.

Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said that he made the decision to drop the charges because there was no probable cause, and their names should be struck off the charge sheet in the multiple murder case. The panel of government prosecutors, however, say that as they are pursuing a theory of conspiracy in the multiple murder case, the two men did not need to be in the scene of the crime to have been involved.

The government prosecutors also complained that they only found out about the executive decision by the Secretary through the media. They said:

“The evidence we have against the accused, our individual conscience, our sense of right and wrong and notion of justice and injustice, leave us no room to follow Secretary Agra’s orders….We are deeply concerned that the resolution will all the more convince a long sceptical public that our criminal justice system is impotent when the accused are politically influential…. We can not be a mute party to the grant of impunity to privileged accused.”

The Maguindanao massacre has placed the Philippine government under increased international scrutiny. The onus is now on the Department of Justice and the courts to demonstrate through the handling of this case that justice can be achieved.

Allegations of election fraud during the 2004 polls, particularly in Maguindanao where paramilitaries and militia groups are known to have abducted and unlawfully killed people under orders of local politicians, have cast a heavy shadow on the upcoming elections. With the elections coming up in May, the Philippine government needs to demonstrate that it will not tolerate impunity for human rights abuses for political gain.

The Maguindanao massacre illustrated all too clearly that local politicians and their armed groups can kill more than 50 people in broad daylight to forward their political interests.

The Philippines must abide by its obligations under international human rights law to ensure effective remedy for victims of human rights abuses and their families, and to prevent impunity, Amnesty International said.

Additional information:

Initially, the Maguindanao multiple murder case had been assigned to a local court. Under Philippine law, the local court can either honour the decision of the Secretary or assert its own jurisdiction as a separate branch of government.

In Philippine law, for a person to be charged, the quantum of evidence needed is “probable cause”, to be determined through a preliminary investigation conducted by prosecutors. If the prosecutors find probable cause, the case is assigned to the court. It is the court’s responsibility to then assess the evidence and to rule on the accused person’s guilt or innocence.

Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra ordered the multiple murder charges against Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan to be dropped based on a flight manifesto, a phone bill and a witness testimony against other evidence, including from a former member of the Ampatuan’s private army testifying that the two accused participated in the planning of the murder.

Mr. Agra had assumed the post in February 2010. He was President Arroyo’s election lawyer during the 2004 presidential elections and again her private counsel during the 2006 impeachment proceedings against her.

197 people have been named suspects in the multiple murder case. According to media reports, as of 13 April, 59 suspects are in government custody: 47 policemen, two militiamen, and some members of the Ampatuan clan. Media reports also indicate that the remaining identified suspects, including 97 Civilian Volunteer Organization militiamen, 13 policemen, four soldiers, 13 other members of the Ampatuan family and other suspects, are still at-large.

 

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
April 21, 2010
References: Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Acting Secretary-General | 09175113373
Atty. Julius Matibag, NUPL Spokesperson | 09279293989

Arroyo Behind Anomalous Justice Secretary Resolution” - NUPL

In a press statement today, the national human rights lawyers’ group, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) condemned the resolution issued by Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra absolving two members of the Ampatuan clan in the senseless and gruesome Maguindanao Massacre.

“The Resolution issued by Sec. Agra is not only questionable and irregular, it also violated established legal doctrines and principles on basic criminal procedure,” NUPL Acting Sec-Gen. Atty. Edre U. Olalia, stated. “The move not only had further contributed to serious public doubts about the integrity of the entire DOJ, it also grossly tainted the country’s criminal justice system in general.”

NUPL cited the landmark case of Crespo vs Mogul (G.R. No. L-53373 June 30, 1987) where the Supreme Court set the jurisprudential rule that once ruled that “once a complaint or information is filed in Court any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it.”

It should be noted that RTC Judge Solis-Reyes has ruled that there was probable cause against all the accused in the Ampatuan massacre and subsequently issued arrest warrants against them.

In their press statement, the NUPL not only questioned the irregularity of the said Resolution but went straight to the point when it said that, “There is no doubt that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is behind the Agra decision absolving the two Ampatuans,” Olalia stated. “President Arroyo has the record of whitewashing cases against her and her allies while prosecuting the opposition on the other hand.”

It should be noted that Agra served as an election lawyer for PGMA during the elections. He was also in the forefront of the charter change attempt being pushed by PGMA through people’s initiative.

The NUPL believes that as a mater of principle, Sec. Agra should forthwith revisit the recommendation and consider resigning and expressed support for the DOJ prosecutors who protested against the said Resolution. The lawyers’ group called on other prosecutors, especially those in Mindanao, to express the same outrage.

NUPL said that the move to absolve the two Ampatuans is a painful insult and an added injustice to the families of the victims of the massacre.

Two NUPL lawyers, Atty. Connie Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo, were among those killed in the Ampatuan massacre. # # #

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
22 April 2010
Reference: Joms Salvador, Deputy Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0919182150

We shall not forget.
GABRIELA, WRIT condemns Agra ’s decision

Five months after the gruesome Ampatuan massacre, women brought a black coffin in front of the Department of Justice to “mourn” what they deem as the “death of justice” after Justice Secretary Alberto Agra dismissed the charges against Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and his son Mamasapano Mayor Datu Akmad Ampatuan.

GABRIELA, a militant women’s group, notes that despite mountain of evidence that proves the involvement of the two Ampatuans along with Andal Jr. and others in the massacre, Agra had the gall to tell the victims’ families and the people that he could not find probable grounds to bring to the court the two.

“We were all shocked beyond belief by the gruesome crime the Ampatuans committed in the name of power, and the least that was expected from the state was to act swiftly to serve justice to the victims and their families, which Agra denied with such finality,” said Joms Salvador, GABRIELA deputy secretary general. Salvador noted that among the women victims of the massacre was GABRIELA member Atty. Connie Brisuela.

For GABRIELA, it is a travesty like no other. Agra uses the cloak of his office to let mass murderers like the Ampatuans off the hook. On the other hand, the women’s group expressed that it is not beyond Agra to commit a blunder against the people this grave.

“His record shows how he sides with Arroyo without regard of the law and at the expense of the people’s interest. Of the members of the Judicial and Bar Council, he was the only one who did not criticize the Supreme Court ruling allowing Arroyo to appoint the new SC chief,” said Salvador .

According to Women Resist Against Impunity and Tyranny (WRIT), Agra has to come to the Ampatuans' aid and absolve them of their crimes, them being staunch allies of Arroyo who delivered her the votes of Maguindanao.

“With nothing to expect from the DOJ, the more that we should rally behind our call for justice for the victims. We shall not forget our sisters; we shall not forget Connie; we shall not forget the journalists and the rest of the innocent lives sacrificed in that bloodbath,” said Salvador .

WRIT and GABRIELA register that for justice to be meted out to the victims, it is necessary that the people ensure the end of Arroyo’s rule and weed out undesirable elements in the government like Agra . ###

Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Office
(+632) 3712302

 

     
           
     
     
     

 

UNION OF PEOPLES' LAWYERS IN MINDANAO (UPLM)
PRESS STATEMENT/ 19 APRIL 2010
 

Boldly Confront the Arroyo Regime’s Shameless Exoneration of the Butchers of Maguindanao

As we have already warned before, it is shamelessly happening now!!

In the run-up to the May 10 national elections, the treacherous Grloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime is now pulling all the stops for the eventual exoneration of its No. 1 warlord allies in Mindanao – the members of the Ampatuan clan -- who are the principal accused in the barbaric November 23 Ampatuan Massacre.

The observance of the Lenten Season may have been over, yet, we still have in our midst a modern-day Judas Iscariot in the person of Acting Justice Secretary Roberto Agra. His callous and shameless decision to drop suspended ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and Mayor Akmad Ampatuan Sr. from the multiple murder charges is nothing but a cruel betrayal of the quest for justice for the senseless death of 57 innocent lives, including of our own, UPLM founding member, Atty. Connie Brizuela. Agra’s act also truly reveals the bloodied Malacañang hands in this continuing sordid episode of bringing to the bar of justice the ruthless butchers of Maguindanao.

While gasping for survival in the twilight of its stolen mandate, still the Arroyo regime will stop at nothing in further bastardizing and brutalizing our country’s democratic institutions, if only to protect its questionable hold to power, as well as protect its equally hated allies.

We have to frustrate the brazenness by which the Arroyo regime is flaunting impunity as a curse to the Filipino people.

UPLM calls on the judiciary – particularly the judges handling the cases against the members of the Ampatuan clan and its accomplices – to assert its independence against the onslaught of the executive department.

Also, if there is still some sense of shame in him, we also call on Acting Justice Secretary Agra to “follow” the example of Judas Iscariot by “hanging” his political career by immediately resigning from his posts as acting Justice Secretary and Solicitor General.

Finally, while we support moves to exhaust available legal remedies to thwart this latest attempt to pursue the ends of justice, the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) calls on the people to take bolder and stronger actions to express our outrage.

UPLM believes that only the collective rage and action of our people can frustrate the desperate moves of the Arroyo regime and its allies. Only the collective rage and action of our people can bring about the genuine justice that our fallen colleagues, relatives and friends truly deserve.

Refer to:
ATTY. CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE
Secretary General
 

     
     
           
     
     
     
     


The Structure of Reactionary Violence and Human-Rights Violations in the Philippines
By PROF. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

The International Coordinating Committee and all member-organizations of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) 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 Nov. 23, 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 Ctizen Armed Force Geographical Units (Cafgu) and Civilian Volunteer 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 (OBL or Operation Freedom Watch). 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.

Further Information on the Ampatuan Massacre

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 Nov. 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 US Agency for International Development (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 region. To 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!

 

     
     
     
     
     

 

The interfaith peace movement Kalinaw Mindanao gathered for the 3rd month commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre. Relatives of Atty. Connie Jayme-Brizuela and Pinky and Ella Balayman were accompanied by 50 participants from the Church, Moro people and Indigenous peoples in an interfaith liturgy of prayers, flowers, songs, and symbolic offerings for the victims.

Through this activity, Kalinaw Mindanao shows the unity of the Mindanao people in crying out for justice, not only for the victims of the tragic massacre on November 23, but also for all victims of the impunity of the all-out war and counter-insurgency campaign.

 

▼  Photos by Kalinaw Mindanao  ▼ 
 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Bayan joins protest to mark first anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre
News Release
November 23, 2010

Bayan joins protest to mark first anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre

Umbrella organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) will join different groups in a march to Mendiola today November 23 to commemorate the Maguindanao massacre and call for justice for the 58 victims of the “worst election-related violence in Philippine history”.

BAYAN reiterated its call for the investigation of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their role in supporting the Ampatuan family during the past decade. The militant group also demanded the dismantling of all paramilitary groups including the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and various Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVO) becauase of their involvement in the massacre.

Arroyo and the AFP are believed to have supported the Ampatuan family politically and militarily and tolerated many of the alleged other crimes of the clan.

“We have not forgotten. Today we march with the members of the media as we demand justice for the victims and the prosecution of all those who were directly and indirectly responsible for the massacre,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The case of the Maguindanao massacre is a major test for the executive and the judiciary. Considering the gravity of the crime and the threat it posed to institutions like the media, not to mention the existence of overwhelming evidence that point to the involvement of the Ampatuans, a year has passed and victims continue to seek justice,” Reyes said.

Bayan lamented the fact that former president Arroyo has not been investigated for her possible culpability in the massacre. The Aquino regime has also rejected calls for the dismantling of paramilitary units that were involved in the massacre.

“The Arroyo government is no longer in power and the new regime is in a position to investigate her and her generals. However, no steps have been taken towards this despite public knowledge that the Arroyo regime supported the Ampatuans. When will GMA and her generals be investigated? When will the paramilitary groups be disbanded?” Reyes said.

BAYAN expressed concern that if the case drags on, evidence and witnesses will continue to disappear – either voluntarily or involuntarily. The group also supports the petition of various media groups for live coverage of the trial.

Dismantle private armies

BAYAN likewise hit the continuing existence of paramilitary groups despite calls for them to be dismantled and disarmed due to the human rights violations attributed to their presence. Human Rights Watch in its recent report pointed to the use of paramilitary groups as private armies of local politicians.

The Maguindanao massacre was one such instance where the Ampatuans used Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) and Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) to stop its rival clan – the Mangudadatus – from participating in the 2010 local elections.

“The Maguindanao massacre clearly shows paramilitary groups cannot be allowed to continue. It is ridiculous for the Aquino regime and the AFP to claim that they are taking steps to professionalize the CAFGU’s. How can they do this when they have problems professionalizing even the regular troops when it comes to human rights?” Reyes said.

“The insistence of the Aquino government in employing paramilitary groups in its counterinsurgency operations-- despite the gross human rights record of these units-- shows a low regard for human rights. It shows a lack of interest in pursuing complete justice for the victims and in preventing a repeat of the gruesome murders that took place one year ago, Reyes added.

The CAFGUs are considered as auxiliary units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and enjoy privileges such as access to military weapons and exemptions from the gun ban during elections.

The recently concluded barangay elections which left 33 people dead were characterized by violence caused by private armies. In fact, the election hotspots identified by the police were private army-infested areas.###

     
     

Candle Lighting in Zamboanga City on the occassion of the 2nd month on the Maguindanao Massacre.

     
           

Marking the 1st anniversary of the Amptuan Massacre in Metro Manila

Photos by Abby Valenzuela

           
 

Filipino journalists produce TV ads on the Maguindanao Massacre

Sunday, 21 November 2010 12:11

http://www.zumel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=835:filipino-journalists-produce-tv-ads-on-the-maguindanao-massacre&catid=42:video&Itemid=59

 

Filipino journalists working for various media outlets have joined hands to produce the following television ads in memory of the 58 victims of the Maguindanao massacre and their families' continuing quest for justice. A total of 30 journalists were among those killed in the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre, perpetrated allegedly by political allies of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. These ads will be aired by various TV networks in the coming days.

Tutok

 

Families

 

Huwag Makalimot

 

 

Never Forget

 

 

 
 
 
 
   
 

Community radio broadcasters worldwide to join commemoration of Ampatuan massacre

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Written by Ronalyn V. Olea   

Saturday, 20 November 2010 12:54

http://www.zumel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=833:community-radio-broadcasters-worldwide-to-join-commemoration-of-ampatuan-massacre&catid=1:news&Itemid=37

 

The 10th General Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters AMARC in La Plata, Argentina unanimously adopted a resolution, Nov. 13, calling on all its members to participate in the Global Day of Action on the Ampatuan Massacre on Nov. 23, 2010.

On Nov. 23, 2009, 57 persons, including the wife and relatives of Toto Mangudadatu, the political rival of the Ampatuan clan, were killed allegedly by the private army of the Ampatuan clan in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao. Thirty-one journalists were among the dead and one of them remains missing.

 

AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels. AMARC has an international secretariat in Montreal. It has regional sections in Africa, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, North America and Asia Pacific and offices in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Brussels, and Kathmandu.

 

The Assembly has 390 voting delegates from 110 countries, according to Raymund Villanueva, director for radio of Kodao Productions, main host of Sali Na Bayan! program over DZUP 1602 and sponsor of the said resolution.

 

In the resolution, AMARC condemned, in the strongest terms possible, the culture of impunity in the Philippines, particularly the unabated killing of journalists, including community media practitioners and advocates.

 

In an interview, Villanueva said, community radio broadcasters committed to write news stories, editorials, messages of solidarity for the commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre.

Villanueva said a “Call to Action” webpage would be setup to encourage 5,000 members of AMARC worldwide to participate in the Global Day of Action spearheaded by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) .

 

The IFJ is the world’s largest organization of journalists. AMARC has bilateral relations with IFJ. In the Philippines, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) serves as IFJ’s local affiliate.

 

AMARC also called on the Philippine government to end the culture of impunity and work for justice for all victims of human rights violations in the country;

 

Villanueva said AMARC members would also send petitions to Philippine government agencies calling for a swift and fair trial of the criminal cases related to the Ampatuan Massacre and protection of witnesses from further intimidation and violence.

 

The Philippine delegation is composed of Kodao Productions, Radio Sagada, Rainbow Rights Project and Isis International. bulatlat.com

 

 
 
   
   

 

AMARC Calls Upon the Philippines Government to Stop Killings of Journalists and Broadcasters

http://www.amarc.org/index.php?p=shownews&id=1142

 

 

June 28, 2010. Kathmandu. The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters-Asia Pacific (AMARC-AP) condemns the recent killings of three more journalists last week, two of whom were fellow broadcasters, in the Philippines. The deaths of Desiderio Camangyan of Sunrise FM (Davao) last June 14, Joselito Agustin of DzJC Aksyon Radyo (Ilocos Norte) last June 16, and Nestor Bedolido of Kastigado Newspaper (Digos City) last June 20 bring the number of journalists killed under the outgoing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime to 104.

We hold the outgoing administration morally liable for allowing the Philippines to become the most dangerous country for journalists. On the average, one journalist was killed every month in the last nine years. This fact calls to question the country’s claim as one of the region’s oldest democracies. To date, 141 journalists were killed since the baseline year of 1986 when the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos was ousted.

 

It is more lamentable that very few cases have been successfully prosecuted. Even the Philippine Secretary of Justice initially wanted to absolve two suspected perpetrators of the Ampatuan Massacre that killed 33 journalists last November. We are also alarmed that one of the witnesses to the most shocking crime against journalists in history was killed last June June 22, endangering the quest for justice. AMARC-AP has condemned the massacre in a unanimously-approved resolution last February in Bangalore, India on the occasion of our second regional conference.

We enjoin AMARC-AP’s collective voice with local and international media and human rights organizations in seeking justice for all victims of media killings and attacks in the Philippines. AMARC-AP calls on the incoming Benigno Aquino administration to stop the killings of journalists and other innocent civilians and to prosecute suspects in all the killings. We also urge the new government to immediately implement a program that would encourage the establishment and unencumbered operation of community radio broadcasting in the Philippines.

As the world’s biggest broadcasting movement with more than 5,000 member community broadcasting stations and advocates worldwide, AMARC believes that democracy and social justice is only achievable when there is a free press.

-END-

 

About AMARC:

 

AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal. It has regional sections in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific and offices in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Brussels, and Kathmandu. For more information, please contact Suman Basnet, Regional Coordinator for Asia-Pacific, suman_basnet@asiapacific.amarc.org or visit www.asiapacific.amarc.org. , ,

 

 
 
   

 

Call for Action to Mark the One-Year Anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre In The Philippines

 

[image] The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, AMARC and its member in the Philippines KODAO Productions are calling on all community radio broadcasters to participate in the Global Day of Action on November 23 to mark the one-year anniversary of the world’s biggest atrocity perpetrated against journalists.

 

This Global Day of Action follows a Resolution of AMARC 10 that was unanimously approved in La Plata, Argentina on 13 November. The Global Day of Action is being commemorated in coordination with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

 

Resolution:

 

A Resolution Condemning The Ampatuan Massacre And The Culture Of Impunity In The Philippines Proposed by Raymund B Villanueva, Kodao Productions, Philippines

 

WHEREAS, there have been more than 1,100 victims of extrajudicial killings, 300 victims of enforced disappearances, tens of thousands of victims of internal displacement, among other human rights violations in the Philippines since 2001 under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime;

 

WHEREAS, extra-judicial killings and other forms of human rights violations continue unabated under the new Philippine government of Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III;

 

WHEREAS, more than a hundred Filipino journalists, many of them broadcasters, have been killed, harassed, and intimidated since 2001;

 

WHEREAS, the Philippines is now acknowledged as “the most dangerous country for media workers”, particularly after the massacre of 58 persons, including at least 32 journalists, last November 23, 2009—the world’s single biggest atrocity against journalists;

 

WHEREAS, it is widely believed that the Philippine government is accountable for the culture of impunity due to its implementation of counter-insurgency programs that target civilians, particularly activists and community development workers;

 

WHEREAS, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters promotes the use of community radio as a tool for development, peace, justice and solidarity, in accordance with Chapter II, Item 2.1.2 of its Statutes.

 

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED that:

 

AMARC condemns in the strongest terms possible the culture of impunity in the Philippines, particularly the unabated killing of journalists, including community media practitioners and advocates;

 

AMARC shall likewise call on the Philippine government to end the culture of impunity and work for justice for all victims of human rights violations in the country;

 

AMARC shall call on the new Philippine government to ensure the swift and fair trial of the criminal cases related to the Ampatuan Massacre and protection of witnesses from further intimidation and violence.; and

 

AMARC and its general membership shall actively participate in the Global Day of Action on the Ampatuan Massacre on November 23, 2010, in solidarity with its Filipino members, media organizations in the Philippines and abroad to mark the first anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre through news stories, editorials, reports and messages of solidarity from its member community radio stations, practitioners and advocates worldwide.

 

(Passed unanimously as the second resolution of AMARC 10 General Assembly, La Plata, Argentina, 13 November 2010.)

 

Background: On November 23, 2009, 33 journalists and media workers were brutally murdered in a massacre of 58 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao in the southern Philippines.

 

AMARC is joining the IFJ and many other international organisations that are coordinating global activities, including online Facebook and Twitter protests, while the NUJP and its local partners in the Philippines will run an intense program of events throughout the Philippines in the lead up to and on November 23. AMARC will coordinated efforts with AMARC and NUJP-member Kodao Productions.

IFJ Asia-Pacific will join the NUJP in the Philippines for an international mission in the week of November 23 to provide solidarity to the families and colleagues of those murdered, to support the NUJP in its tireless campaigning for justice, and to conduct advocacy with the Government of Benigno Aquino III to demand justice and an end to the culture of impunity that has gripped the Philippines for far too long.

Join the campaign and remind our colleagues there that we remain firmly committed to supporting them as they continue their struggle for justice and protection.

 

November 23, 2010: Global Day of Action

 

What you can do:

  • Organise for a delegation from your organisation to meet with Philippine Ambassadors and consular officials in your home countries, to alert them to your concerns for journalist colleagues in the Philippines and to demand that all those responsible for the Ampatuan town massacre are brought to justice.

  • Deliver a letter to the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, via the Philippines consulate or embassy in your country – click here to see the templates and fact sheets. (Ricardo: please place links to the attached “Template Letter to the Philippine Government.doc’ and ‘template letter to the Philippine Embassies.doc at this point)

  • Write to Foreign Ministers and officials of your home countries to request that your Government demand that the Philippines administration takes action to address the massacre and achieve justice.

  • Participate in online protest actions which will be organised through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We will provide more detail on these actions shortly.

 

Lead-up to November 23: Affiliates, partners and colleagues are encouraged to begin a series of actions that will build up to the Global Day of Action on November 23. Here are some ways you can show your support:

 
  • Prepare a condolence register or book which can be signed by members of your organisation and all concerned individuals and organizations. Share the signatures with AMARC, IFJ, the NUJP and Kodao Productions.

  • Write letters of support and solidarity to Kodao Productions and the NUJP. Send them to kodaophils@gmaill.com and the IFJ at ifj@ifj.org or to IFJ Asia-Pacific at ifj@ifj-asia.org to be delivered to the NUJP.

  • Encourage your colleagues working in the media to prepare and run news and feature reports on the Maguindanao atrocity and the continuing efforts to secure justice – do not let this issue fade.

  • Let everyone know about the Global Day of Action on November 23, and continue to express your outrage at the Maguindano atrocity.

 

Publicity: Please send photos and information about your protest actions to kodaophils@gmail.com, the IFJ at ifj@ifj.org and ifj@ifj.asia.org. Photos from last year's solidarity actions can be seen at the IFJ's flickr page here. Please add your own photos, with the tags "ampatuan massacre" or "philippines massacre". Your reports will be compiled and shared publicly by Kodao Productions, the IFJ and the NUJP to show solidarity with our colleagues in the Philippines and the strength of a united global demand for justice.

 

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