Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Maguindanao Massacre

As of 8pm tonight, 46 people have been excavated from two different sites in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Mindanao. They are mothers, fathers, wives and husbands, children, journalists, and filipino civilians who died for nothing but the selfish interest of one group.

Electoral violance reared its head early in the game, with the filing of the certificates of candidacy barely on a roll.

Almost half of the victims are people related to the vice mayor of Buluan. The other half are media practitioners who are just doing their jobs.

Accounts say that the military and local police declined requests from the media to escort them as they go about this coverage. Now, they're saying no such request reached their quarters. However, with a massacre this brazen, people are demanding that heads roll. The first batch of casualties include top ranking officers from the local police.

But this is not enough. Evidences point to Ampatuan, the governor of Maguindanao, as a political rival of Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu whose wife was among those dead, in the gubernatorial race. A backhoe, according to reports, was found in the hastily-dug graveyards allegedly used to dig out the craters which later served as graves. It bore the name "Andal Ampatuan Snr".

This is not the first massacre in the Philippines, neither will it be the last. What makes it chilling is the number of perpetrators indicating a private army, a cause that is possibly politically motivated, an alleged mastermind that is the incumbent governer of the province and the coldness in which it was perpetrated.

In the wake of the public outcry for justice against this brutal killings, Dureza, a cabinet secretary told Mike Enriquez on 24 oras that both families being close to the president, the people should expect that the [judicial] process will be fair. Well, isn't that what JUSTICE is supposed to be in the first place?

The Ampatuans are wealthy, powerful political figures who dominate ARMM as a clan reminiscent of feudal times. People say that money talks. Then, who is it talking to right now?

Picture from Michael Wosley's blog and Lauri Lipton

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