It was a carnage waiting to happen. In the wild, wild province of Maguindanao, ruled since 2001 by the Ampatuan clan, long-time political allies of de facto President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the November 23 massacre of 57 people and counting, could be chalked up as another grizzly case of wanton violence between two warring political clans. Yet the brutality, the brazenness, and the crass utilization of a monopoly of political power to carry out this hideous mass murder continues to shock and draw universal condemnation.

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