• Remembering the Ampatuan Massacre

    Impunity is BS Aquino–Karapatan and an NUJP letter to Pope Francis


    “His government is shameless. He is impunity personified. His name is Noynoy ‘Impunity’ Aquino,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said on the eve of the International Day to End Impunity, November 23, which is also the anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre.

    “There is madness going on right before our eyes with witnesses and potential witnesses being killed one by one. The Ampatuans may be in jail but their power has not diminished. They are still able to silence witnesses. But what is BS Aquino government doing?” Palabay asked.

    On November 19, the former driver of Ampatuan Sr., Dennis Sakal was killed while Butch Saudagal, known as Ampatuan Jr.’s bagman, was wounded. Both were shot while riding a motorcycle to Sharrif Aguak.

    “The BS Aquino government coddles the Ampatuans in the same way that it coddles and protects the notorious general Jovito Palparan who is housed at the Philippine Army camp,” Palabay said.

    Five years ago, the whole world was stunned with the massacre of 58 persons. Five years have passed and [there is]still no sign of conviction for the murderers,” Palabay said.

    Karapatan twits Coloma: BS Aquino’s rights record speaks for itself

    In response to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.’s statement on “baseless” claims of rights abuses under Aquino, Palabay said that “Malacañang keeps denying what is obvious and blatantly happening, such as killings and other human rights violations, in the same manner that it denies its criminal neglect of Typhoon Yolanda victims.”

    Karapatan enumerated several unsolved cases such as the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, Datu Jimmy Liguyon, town councillor Fernando Baldomero, the massacre of botanist Prof. Leonard Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Boromeo and anti-mining activist Juvy Capion and her two sons.

    “While there are is not even a hint that justice will be served on the victims of these killings, the BS Aquino government, through the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has not stopped its killing spree. Their pronouncements invoking adherence to international human rights standards are all for show. Even the United Nations human rights experts and international monitors have seen through their lies,” said Palabay.

    The human rights group has documented 222 victims of extrajudicial killing, 221 frustrated killings, 104 victims of torture and more than 40,000 who forcibly evacuated due to military operations.

    Palabay cited the continuing massive deployment of AFP troops in the Caraga region where at least four battalions are currently conducting military operations. |

    Since November 1, there have been two missing farmer-small scale miners in the Bayugan, Agusan del Sur who have yet to be found—Philims and Philip Poloyapoy.

    Their brother, Filjohn, was found dead on November 3. The three were arrested by elements of the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) conducting combat operations on November 1 at Purok 13,Bagong Silang, Barangay Bayugan 3, Rosario, Agusan del Sur.

    The Poloyapoy brothers first encountered the military on October 31 on the way to the gold-panning site. They came from their farm. Filjohn was walking ahead of Philip and Philims. They had with them a “jolen gun” (a homemade gun made of PVC pipe that uses marbles for bullets and alcohol as fuel). The brothers use the gun to hunt birds and to drive away boars that destroy their crops.

    Unknown to Philip and Philims, who were behind Filjohn, there were already soldiers ahead of them. The two were after the birds they saw and fired their “jolen gun.” The soldiers, who were now with Filjohn, were alarmed and fired at Philip and Philims. Fortunately, they were not hit. The soldiers left after they scolded and warned the brothers. The three were last seen on November 1. They told their mother they would be going to their farm huts.

    “Nakakasuklam na ito. The Aquino government can afford to drag its heels on the Ampatuan massacre and go easy with the Ampatuans even as the world watches. We can just imagine what happens to the case of the Poloyapoys and many other lesser-known individuals from the villages who become victims of the government’s fascist attacks. The world does not know them. The only way for us to end impunity is to also end the reign of the impunity king, BS Aquino,” Palabay concluded.

    KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

    * * *

    Liham para kay Pope Francis – mula sa kamaganak ng mga biktima ng Ampatuan Massacre

    [Letter for Pope Francis–from the relatives of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre]

    THIS letter comes to us the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

    It was read by Grace Morales yesterday, November 21, at the Ampatuan Massacre site where more than 70 journalists and kin of the Ampatuan massacre victims commemorates the 5th year of the massacre.

    Grace is the widow of Rosell Morales and the sister of Marites Cablitas, circulation manager and publisher of News Focus at the time of the incident.

    Liham para kay Pope Francis

    Kami ay mga asawa, anak, magulang at kapatid ng mga pinaslang sa bayan ng Ampatuan, Maguindanao noong ika -23 ng Nobyembre 2009.

    Ang aming mga mahal sa buhay ay kasama sa masaker kung saan 58 ang nasawi kabilang ang 32 mamahayag.

    Taun-taon ay bumabalik kami rito sa lugar na ito kung saan ang dugo nila ay kumalat nang pagbabarilin sila sa utos ng mga Ampatuan. Ngunit hindi lamang sila pinagbabaril. Ibinaon ang mahigit kalahati sa kanila kasama ang mga sasakyan sa pamamagitan ng backhoe na ginamit sa paggawa ng hukay at pagpitpit sa mga sasakyan upang mas madaling mapagkasya ang mga ito at ang mga bangkay sa hukay.

    Limang taon na ang nakaraan mula nang maganap ito.

    Limang taon na mula nang ang mga anak namin ay nawalan ng mga tatay o nanay na dapat ay gumagabay sa kanilang paglaki.

    Limang taon na mula nang ang mga asawa sa amin ay nawalan ng katuwang sa pagtataguyod ng aming tahanan.

    Limang taon na nang mawalan kami ng mga kapatid na naging kalaro sa paglaki at ngayo’y puntod na lamang na dinadalaw sa sementeryo.

    Hindi po perpekto ang aming mga kamag-anak. Nakakagawa rin po sila ng mga kasalanan noong sila’y nabubuhay at nakakalimot paminsan-minsan sa mga banal na utos ng Panginoon. Subalit ang patayin sila ng ganun na lamang at ibaon ng parang mga hayop ay hindi katanggap-tanggap.

    Dito sa lugar na ito kung saan umalingawngaw ang putok mula sa mga baril na kumitil sa kanilang buhay. . .Dito sa lugar na ito kung saan nagsumamo silang huwag patayin…

    Dito sa lugar na ito kung saan nawala ang pag-asa ng 58 pamilya…
    Nagsusumamo kami sa iyo, mahal na Santo Papa, na tulungan kaming mabigyan ng hustisya.

    Alam po naming hindi na maibabalik ang buhay ng aming mga mahal sa buhay.

    Subalit naniniwala kaming ang Diyos ay isang Diyos na may pagmamahal sa katulad naming maliliit at walang kakayahang ipagtanggol ang sarili.

    Bigyan nyo po kami ng lakas ng loob upang ipagpatuloy ang paghahanap ng katarungan.

    Bigyan nyo po kami ng sapat na lakas para maitawid ang pang-araw araw na pangangailangan ng aming pamilya.

    Bigyan nyo po kami ng linaw ng isip para magawa ang mga tamang desisyon. Kami’y mga simpleng tao, wala sa kapangyarihan at walang kayamanan.

    Subalit sa inyong tulong, dasal at pagpapala, umaasa kaming magkakaroon ng lakas para ipaglaban ang katarungan.

    Tinitingnan namin ang inyong darating na pagdalaw sa Enero bilang isang simbolo ng pagmamahal ng Diyos sa mga katulad naming naghahanap ng hustisya.

    Kaya dito sa lugar na ito, limang taon makaraan ang masaker, hinihiling namin na kami’y iyong ipagdasal at sa kahit anong paraang maari, bilang pinakamataas na pinuno ng Simbahang Katoliko, ay samahan kami sa paglalakbay tungo sa katarungan.

    Mga asawa, anak, kapatid at magulang ng mga pinaslang na media sa Sitio Masalay, Bgy. Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao


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    1. P-noy, if he wished, could have done all these things expected of him to do. He could have sped up this case if he wanted to without being branded as a violator of the Constitution. He could have pressured his people in both Houses to pas the FOI bill early in his term, but he did not. He could have utilised government agencies concerned to resolve the Luisita issue fairly. One thing is very well known, he can do these things faster if he wanted to, the way he used much of his time and the people’s resources to make sure that those he hated the most are punished for the transgressions that he cannot easily forgive and forget.

    2. maguindanao masacre – 2009. Pnoy became Pres. 2010
      These murderers are GMA followers and were tolerated for the past years.

      Hacienda Luisita happened 2004. again Pnoy became Pres. 2010
      Pnoy haters linked him to this issue.
      Pnoy is Aquino, his father is Benigno Aquino, a poor journalist who covered the Vietnam war. Pnoy ‘s mom is Cojuangco. Cojuangco messed up.

      now how could you connect these incidents with Pnoy.

      Rafael Toledo is professionally right. Pres. Aquino is not a Judge.

      anong say ninyo Pnoy haters —- LUTONG macao ..

      A person will remain innocent until proven guilty …. democracy works

      rumors/hearsays are carried by HATERS esp. below normal person – spread by
      fools and accepted by IDIOTS..

      bato bato sa langit ang tamaan ay huwag magagalit.

    3. Understanding Person on

      Mr. Toledo, ang presidente mapag kunwari…ang sabi niya (ay mali!) ang ipinangako niya ay so-solve-in niya ang Ampatuan Massacre sa oras na manalo siya bilang pang-gulo este! Pangulo. Eto hanggang ngayon, naghihintay pa rin tayo at puti na ang mga mata at patuloy pa rin ang kapapata sa mga witnesses at iba pang mga media personalities. Anong say mo? Aangal ka pa? Papalag kapa? Magsisinungaling ka rin ba tulad ng idol mong walang ginawa kundi mag-gimmick? Sino sisihin namin si Gloria M. A.? Aba kung ganon, tulad ka talaga sa amo mong panot! Panot ka rin ba?

    4. Vicente Penetrante on

      Let us continue to watch the scale of Blind Justice. So far, the rich can get away with murder, the poor cannot get justice.

    5. How can the murder of 58 persons, 32 of whom were journalists and media workers, still have no convictions five years after it happened in a state that is supposed to be a modern republic? Whose president is supposed to be the bearer of the pro-democracy legacy of his parents the late President Corazon Aquino and the martyred Senator Benigno Aquino 2nd?
      Yes, it can happen and it has–but only in benighted countries like the Uganda of Idi Amin and the Haiti of the Duvaliers–and of course the Kim dynasty’s North Korea..
      The Philippines under President Benigno Aquino 3rd is a benighted country too.
      This president and his co-rulers should be swept out of Malacanang if he does not resign as demanded by moral consciences and some Filipino leaders and ordinary citizens.

    6. Why blame Pres Aquino for the delay of the hearings concerning the massacre? He is not the judge, besides there might be substantiating documents/info needed by the court to proceed. The defense might be using delayed tactics, or prosecutors having difficulty getting witnesses for the hearing, etc, etc. There could be some “suhol” happening, but without Pres Aquino’s knowledge. We cannot put the blame on our President, everytime something does not go according to plan. The Pres cannot ensure everything happen the way it should be. He does not receive all the information he needs to be aware of what requires his attention. If the judge to this case is waiting for documents/info to be able to continue the proceeding, the Pres will not be made aware and cannot do a damn thing. If some bribery is present, and proven with hard evidence in court, then DOJ (not the Pres) should do appropriate action. We must put the blame to whoever is responsible, in this case, maybe the judge, or prosecutor, or DOJ, but not BS Aquino. Remember, the Pres plate is always full of items requiring his immediate attention, with full documentations of course, where he must prioritize, to take action soonest for the good of the people. All I am trying to get across here is not to blame BS Aquino when something is going wrong in the Phillipines. We have to admit that irregardless of who our Pres is, he/she cannot fixed all the nation’s problems. So, we must be smart in selecting our government officials. Elect those candidates with excellent credentials and not those who are trying to buy our votes. Be smart this coming election. I am not sure about VP Binay happenings. Again, it will be up to the voters.

      • It took Aquino just about 18 months to have Chief Justice Corona convicted by 20 senators/ judges. There’s only one Judge in the Maguindanao massacre case and it is still pending after 5 years. This goes to show that “If there’s a will, theres a way” and that the will is lacking in the maguindanao case.

      • Sonny Dela Cruz on

        This is the Unicameral system of government that’s why you have to blame the president. Anything bad that will happen to the country its the president to be blame. Go for Federal system of government because responsibilities are distributed for accountability.

      • corona’s case – they got the full evidence presented to the court with witnesses.

        ampatuan’s case – murder. difficult to get witnesses. bribery is rampant and witnesses are scared to death. hahhahah lol

    7. After the Ampatuan massacre the same personalities politically attacked and blamed the Gloria Arroyo for the carnage, telling people of attempts of cover-up. Now that the same persons are in charge, they too have not lifted even their fingers to solve the massacre and send the guilty to jail. I do not know why there are still PNoy believers when this man has not done anything.

      • GMA was never blamed by the Aquino administration because Aquino acknowledges that GMA, defying all rules and over the opposition’s objections, imposed martial law and suspended the writ habeas corpus, which made possible the arrest and detention of almost all the suspects in the massacre. Aquino wouldn’t have the guts to do what GMA did if he were president at that time.