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Aug 09th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Sen. Pimentel Tells President Arroyo Not to Pass the Buck to Sec. Puno in Sanctioning the Ampatuans
Sen. Pimentel Tells President Arroyo Not to Pass the Buck to Sec. Puno in Sanctioning the Ampatuans PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Written by Senator Pimentel's Press Office   
Monday, 07 December 2009 11:06

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged the government to throw the book at the Ampatuans for their involvement in the massacre of more-than 60 innocent individuals by filing murder charges against them and immediately suspending them from their government posts.


Senator Pimentel, however, told President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo not to pass the buck to Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno in suspending Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and other members of his clan who are occupying the posts of mayors and other local-government positions in the province.


Mr. Pimentel noted that Secretary Puno has already recommended to the President the suspension of Governor Ampatuan and other clan members.  But the President, instead of acting on the recommendation, gave Secretary Puno full authority to exercise administrative control over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, of which Maguindanao is one of the five component provinces.


This means Secretary Puno is empowered to carry out his own recommendation to suspend all local officials in the ARMM who may have a hand in the mass murder.


Senator Pimentel said Mr. Puno cannot legally assume such supervisory authority and approve any suspension order because the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160) has stripped the Department of Interior and Local Government of the authority to exercise administrative supervision over the local-government units.


“The President’s directive to Secretary Puno is anomalous. Unfortunately, Mr. Puno has no more authority to suspend erring local government officials. That has been removed from the DILG secretary since the Local Government Code took effect in l99l,” he said.


Under the Code, he said the only authority left with the DILG is to supervise the Philippine National Police, pointed out Senator Pimentel, the principal author of RA 7l60.


Gloria Arroyo does not want to offend the Ampatuans. She is worried that the massive fraud perpetrated by the Ampatuans in conspiracy with election and law enforcement officials will be exposed” – Sen. Nene Pimentel



S enator Pimentel voiced the suspicion that President Arroyo purposely refrains from discharging her disciplinary powers because she is avoiding a direct clash with the Gov. Ampatuan and other members of his clan on account of their role in her victory in the 2004 presidential elections which was made possible through “command” votes and rampant fraud in Maguindanao.


He said the wholesale cheating was repeated in the 2007 senatorial elections which saw the administration senatorial bets winning by a landslide in Maguindanao while their opposition counterparts were robbed of votes with some of them being credited with zero votes in certain towns which was statistically impossible.


“Gloria does not want to offend the Ampatuans. She is worried that the massive fraud perpetrated by the Ampatuans in conspiracy with election and law enforcement officials will be exposed,” the minority leader said.


Senator Pimentel said the government should stop dilly dallying about charging and arresting Governor Ampatuan on the basis of strong circumstantial evidence implicating him in the mass murder.


He said the Maguindanao governor should be held liable on the following grounds:


l.  The hundreds or so civilian militia who took part in abducting and executing the members of the rival Mangudadatu family, members of the media and other innocent victims were under the control of the governor.


2. The backhoe used in digging the gravesite of the murdered victims bore the name the provincial government of Maguindanao and the name of Governor Ampatuan.


3. Some witnesses have reportedly attested to the governor’s involvement in the mass murder.

4. Governor Ampatuan did not take any step to stop the carnage or to call on military, police or medical authorities to save the lives of the victims.  # # #

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Last Updated on Monday, 07 December 2009 11:34
Comments (1)
1 Monday, 07 December 2009 18:12
Mention "9/11" today and that brings to mind an American tragedy when suspected foreign terrorists killed a lot of people. In terms of lives that tragedy was more horrendous than what happened recently in Maguindanao in the Philippines where "only" less than a hundred died. (One death is too much.)

But arguably Maguindanao was just as horrendous as "9/11" because Filipinos, not foreigners, mercilessly gunned down fellow Filipinos.

Way back in American history another "9/11" horror happened that is more akin to what happened in Maguindanao. The commonality is that Filipinos massacred fellow Filipinos in Maguindanao just as Americans massacred fellow Americans in Morning Meadows.

This occurred on September 11, 1857, in Mountain Meadows, in what was then Utah Territory, during the incumbency of President Buchanan. Territorial expansion was then in full swing in the growing United States.

The tragedies in Maguinadanao in the Philippines and Mountain Meadows in Utah have a commonality as killing fields but they happened more than a century apart on opposite sides of the globe in different circumstances and different senseless reasons. It was religious paranoia in America and political paranoia in the Philippines.

During the era of American expansion, there were many stories of adventurous families going west, braving Indian attacks, treacherous weather, and primitive travel conditions. Railroads and interstate highways were still in the future. One such story was about a wagon train of more than a hundred emigrants from Arkansas and Missouri on their way to California. They stopped to rest at Mountain Meadows.

The environs of Mountain Meadows was Mormon country where Mormons found refuge after having been driven out of Missouri or elsewhere. A group of Mormons, who MAY OR MAY NOT necessarily be representative of Mormons in general, were still resentful of having been persecuted. This particular group did not trust the emigrants temporarily camped at Mountain Meadows.

These Mormons, who, again, may or may not have been officially authorized by higher Mormon hierarchy, encouraged an Indian tribe to attack the emigrants, after which they, the Mormons, also tricked the emigrants into giving up their arms with the assurance that Indians will be more friendly with the unarmed travelers.

Thus disarmed the emigrants became hapless prey for the Mormons who proceeded to massacre them. Only just more than a dozen children survived. They were spared supposedly because they were too young to be dangerous witnesses to the crime.

But in Maguindanao, it appears that the killers did their thing without mercy. There were no reports of survivors. There were even reports that women were sexually abused before they were killed but these were supposedly disproved by forensic authorities according to press releases by media hogging authorities.

Between 1857 and 2009 one would think that in length of time with the Bible and the Q'uran the human race has improved in solving its intramural differences ...

Fred Natividad
Livonia, Michigan

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