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Jun 01st
Home Community Civil Rights PCID’s Leaders Appeal for Calm Amidst the Heinous Massacre in Maguindanao; Demand Separate ARMM Elections
PCID’s Leaders Appeal for Calm Amidst the Heinous Massacre in Maguindanao; Demand Separate ARMM Elections PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - Civil Rights
Written by PCID Press Office   
Monday, 23 November 2009 21:38


T he Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID) condemns the heinous massacre of at least 22 persons (Editor's Note: Number has been now updated to 52 victims), including the wife of Buluan town Vice Mayor Ishmael "Toto" Mangudadatu, who were found dead in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao.  Alleged to be a politically-motivated attack, the convoy of the Mangudadatus led by his wife Genalyn was waylaid at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, according to the military. Mrs. Mangudadatu was accompanied by Mangudadatu town's Vice Mayor Eden Mangudadatu, relatives, two lawyers and journalists to file her husband Toto's certificate of candidacy for governor of Maguindanao at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in Shariff Aguak.

There are no words that can adequately describe our feelings of outrage and horror over the brutal, inhuman violence that has brought the state of lawlessness in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to a new low. Even the most-corrupt politicians, the most-barbaric of warlords, have not employed such monstrous acts.  We can only surmise that the brains of the perpetrators were either scrambled by illegal drugs, or that they believed themselves to be beyond the reach of the law.  This is the abhorrent feature of politics in the areas of armed conflict, such as Maguindanao: Rule of law takes a back seat to the rule of the powerful.


President Arroyo must act immediately on this shameful example of warlordism in Maguindanao. If she cannot uphold the rule of law, she should resign especially because the main suspect is reportedly her man. – Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., on the Maguindanao Massacre

T his culture of impunity has been supported by national political leaders. Mrs. Gloria Arroyo has been widely perceived to have benefited from ARMM’s “reservoir of votes” during the 2004 elections. The ARMM has perennially been tagged as the cheating capital of the
Philippines, especially following the “Hello, Garci” scandal and, recently, the “statistically improbable” results of the Maguindanao elections that gave the administration slate a 12-0 win.

In addition, this administration has failed to implement the rule of law as evidenced by the sheer number of loose firearms in the region. Philippine National Police records show that the second highest number of loose firearms placed at 114,189 is in ARMM.

Former Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza has called for the imposition of emergency rule, perhaps fearful that a bloody "rido" or clan vendetta will ensue. The imposition of emergency rule is clearly an admission by the national and regional government of their complete failure of governance. Secretary Dureza's suggestion requires careful consideration for its many implications.

The question is this: Can this administration disarm the political warlords in the ARMM? Does it have the political will to punish the perpetrators of this criminal act even if it can be proven to be a political ally?

The Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy appeals for calm and sobriety. The rule of law needs to be strengthened. We urge local-and-national authorities to maintain order and prevent the situation from escalating into a full-blown political clan war.

We ask the police, the military, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and all who may be able to help expedite the manhunt for the perpetrators of this ghastly massacre so that they will be brought before the bar of justice.

We appeal to the Commissions on Elections (COMELEC) and other enforcement agencies to ensure that no further acts of violence will mark the electoral exercises in ARMM. The exercise of the people’s will must be protected from criminal attempts to subvert the democratic process, particularly those attempts coupled by violence.

In the light of this brutal act of political violence, the PCID reiterates the call made as early as 2007 by two of its Convenors, former Commission of Human Rights Commissioner Atty. Nasser Marohomsalic and former COMELEC Commissioner Atty. Mehol Sadain, to hold separate elections for ARMM.

While Atty. Marohomsalic and Atty. Sadain recognize the legal question that such a proposal might entail, the holding of separate elections in ARMM will enable the Commission on Elections and its deputies, the media, the civic-minded citizenry, and poll watchers to marshal focus all their strengths and resources needed to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process. # # #

E ditor’s Notes: The preceding statements were issued by PCID Lead Convenor Ms. Amina Rasul and
PCID Founding Co-convenor Atty. Nasser Marohomsalic. Request for interviews may be directed to +63 2 532658 or +63 9178069783.

The PCID holds office at

Unit 2D Tower 1

Governor's Place Condominium
Shaw Blvd.
, Mandaluyong City

Tel: +6 32 5313522
Telefax: +6 32 5326058


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 23:33
Comments (2)
1 Tuesday, 24 November 2009 00:06
Review of an Associated Press Article about the Maguindanao Massacre

Philippines declares emergency after 24 killed

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo placed two southern provinces under a state of emergency Tuesday, giving security forces free hands to pursue gunmen who killed at least 24 people in one of the country's worst election massacres.

The emergency measures, including checkpoints and random searches by authorities, will remain in place until the president is confident that law and order have been restored in the region, Arroyo spokesman Cerge Remonde said.

The attack Monday was on a convoy of vehicles filled with supporters of a gubernatorial candidate along with his relatives, including his wife, and several journalists. The candidate, Ismael Mangudadatu, who was not a part of the convoy, accused his powerful political rival of being behind the slayings.

The government stressed that it would go after the culprits, regardless of where the investigation leads.

"No one will be untouchable," Remonde told reporters, calling Monday's killings "unconscionable."

Officials were still trying to determine the exact number of people intercepted by about 100 gunmen and taken to a remote mountainous area, said Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

"We're hopeful that some people escaped, and we're hoping to find them alive," he said.

Police said the convoy of about 40 people was going to register Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan township, to run for provincial governor when they were stopped.
Soldiers and police later found 24 bodies, including those of Mangudadatu's wife, Genalyn, and his two sisters, sprawled on the ground or shot in their vehicles about three miles (five kilometers) from where they were ambushed, police spokesman Leonardo Espina said.

Mangudadatu said Tuesday that four witnesses had told him the caravan was stopped by gunmen loyal to Andal Ampatuan Jr., a town mayor belonging to a powerful clan and his family's fierce political rival.

He refused to name the witnesses or offer other details.

"It was really planned because they had already dug a huge hole (for the bodies)," Mangudadatu said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said at least 10 local reporters were part of the convoy. Espina said they identified the remains of at least one journalist. Joy Sonza, head of a small private TV station, UNTV, said investigators told him they found the bodies of his correspondent and cameraman. A driver and an assistant cameraman were still missing, Sonza said.

If confirmed, it would be the "largest single massacre of journalists ever," according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

The army and police were searching for as many as 16 other people who were missing, military spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner said, adding that troops were looking for more bodies in areas that appeared to have been recently dug up.

A backhoe was apparently used to bury the bodies, said army commander Lt. Col. Rolando Nerona.

Puno vowed there would be no sacred cows in the investigation. "Within day or two, we should be starting to call people or making arests. We have some information already about specific names but we can't disclose them," he said.

National police chief Jesus Verzosa relieved Maguindanao's provincial police chief and three other officers of their duties and confined them to camp while being investigated. One of the police officers was reported to have been seen in the company of the gunmen and pro-government militiamen who stopped the convoy, police said.

The Ampatuans were unreachable for comment.

The region, among the nation's poorest and awash with weapons, has been intermittently ruled by the Ampatuan family since 2001. It is allied with Arroyo.

Arroyo's political adviser Gabriel Claudio said he was meeting with Zaldy Ampatuan, governor of the Automous Region in Muslim Mindanao, when the killings occurred Monday to try to mediate in the long-running rivalrly between the the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus.

"I really thought that at the time that the affinity, the relations between the two families, will be affirmed," he said.

He said the most important thing was to ensure there was no more violence.

"There has to be swift and decisive justice," Claudio said.

Philippine elections are particularly violent in the south because of the presence of armed groups, including Muslim rebels fighting for self-rule in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, and political warlords who maintain private armies.

The last elections in 2007 were considered peaceful, even though about 130 people were killed.

The decades-long Muslim insurgency has killed about 120,000 people since the 1970s. But a presidential adviser, Jesus Dureza, said Monday's massacre was "unequaled in recent history."

Julkipli Wadi, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of the Philippines, said he doubted the national government's resolve in trimming the powers of political dynasties like the Ampatuans because they deliver votes during elections.

"Because of the absence of viable political institutions, powerful men are taking over," he said. "Big political forces and personalities in the national government are sustaining the warlords, especially during election time, because they rely on big families for their votes."

Associated Press writers Jim Gomez, Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2 Thursday, 26 November 2009 07:03
Archdiocese of Manila's Statement on the Maguindanao Massacre:

ACT SWIFTLY NOW ON MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE (Statement of the Archbishop, Bishops & the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila)

The power of the media brought to our living rooms heart-rending images of the savagery that had been let loose by brutal men in a village of Maguindanao on hapless civilians including women and journalists.

We are shocked and appalled that such an act could be carried out in broad daylight with indescribable brazenness and effrontery, that it seemed the perpetrators were confident that they could not be made accountable for it.

We join our peace-loving countrymen—Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the Archbishop of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Fernando Capalla of the Bishops Ulama Conference among them, and Muslim religious leaders, among them part of the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines—in condemning the Maguindanao massacre as a “crime against God and humanity; a crime against Allah and humanity.” Cardinal Vidal pointed to the act as “unheard of and horrifying.” Indeed, we add our voices to theirs in strong condemnation of this evil deed.

Such an act should not go unpunished; it cries out most vehemently for justice. This is a task that our government must attend to with utmost urgency and speed. The hearts of Filipinos who love peace and who adhere to democracy are restless and uneasy. After all, the victims were civilians performing a democratic task—participating in the democratic election process on the part of the local politicians and exercising freedom of the press on the part of the media people. The murders assault our democratic principles; they shatter our peace.

We call on the President to exert her leadership most forcefully in this regard so that this great wound on our national psyche and on our democratic institution be bandaged and brought to healing before it opens up into more tragic consequences. It is a responsibility she must face if she desires wholeness for her country and people.

We pray for all the victims, that God will give their souls eternal rest and peace. We offer our deepest sympathies to their families, and pray that God’s loving embrace may comfort them in their moments of immeasurable grief; that they may find consolation and surcease in their faith.

We pray that the smoldering fire of hatred and anger among those who seek power through elected positions be doused with the water of peace and love, and commitment to genuine service and the common good.

Archbishop of Manila

Auxiliary Bishop of Manila

Auxiliary Bishop of Manila

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