The surrender of Mayor Andal Ampatuan to authorities is perhaps a positive development towards the solution of Maguindanao massacre. At the very least, Ampatuan could be charged of multiple murder but considering that the Malacañang is handling the case, it does not guarantee his conviction. Worse, this case may end up unresolved as in the case of close to a thousand cases of extra judicial killings and 67 media killings (excluding the victims of Maguindanao massacre) under the Arroyo administration.
For now, Ampatuan should be charged and prosecuted. The victims of the massacre should be indemnified, while witnesses and survivors should be given full protection. Private armies not only in Maguindanao but all over the nation being maintained by political warlords should be dismantled.
The Maguindanao massacre is spawned by a rotten electoral exercise in the Philippines anchored on guns, goons and gold, which Gloria Arroyo did not mind doing away with since she is its number one beneficiary. She tolerated Ampatuan’s using Civilian Army Forces Guerila Unit (CAFGU) and elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as his private goons because of her political indebtedness to the clan as they delivered votes for her in the 2004 elections and most probably to the administration candidate in the 2010 elections had this massacre not happened.
Nationwide, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the CAFGU and PNP is actively participating in the elections under the guise of implementing Oplan Bantay Laya II, GMA’s anti-insurgency campaigns. For one, elements of 73rd infantry battalion (IB) is conducting seminars in the barangays of Alabel, Sarangani Province, poisoning the public’s mind not to join or vote for progressive partylists as they are communist fronts. The same is true in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
We hold the Arroyo administration equally liable for the Maguindanao massacre as she is also liable to all the extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and harassments to her critics. She sets the example of warlordism as she uses the AFP and the PNP as her own private army to persecute, harass, kill and abduct her critics especially members of militant groups and progressive partylists.
Edward J. Flores
Makabayan Socsksargen coordinator
Mobile phone number – 0939-486-1329