DAVAO CITY – The Ampatuans, Mangudadatus, Midtimbangs, Sinsuats, Masturas, Sangkis comprise the majority among Maguindanao’s 879 candidates running for 374 posts: two congressional representatives to Congress, one governor, one vice-governor, 10 provincial board members, 36 mayors, 36 vice mayors and 288 municipal board members or councilors.The Ampatuans lead the list of candidates with 50 carrying […]
A FEW weeks after the Maguindanao massacre, Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, chief administrator of martial law in the area, received an unusual call on his cell phone.
On the other end of the line was a trusted aide of Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, who was days earlier replaced as governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Zaldy was one of several members of the Ampatuan clan jailed on charges of rebellion, stemming from the November 23 carnage that left at least 57 people dead.
At least 44 officials in the Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao are Ampatuans. After the massacre of 57 people, including 31 journalists, on November 23, 2009, only a few had been ousted from office. They include brothers Zaldy, Andal Jr and Sajid Islam, all sons of Ampatuan patriarch Andal Sr. The Ampatuans remain a force to reckon with in Maguindanao, their hold on political power has grown roots so deep and so extensive.
IN JULY last year, Philippine National Police officers from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-ARMM) met with representatives from the Arms Corporation of the Philippines (Armscor) for what should have been a fairly straightforward transaction.
The PNP was buying half a million rounds of 5.56-mm ammunition, the kind used by the police and military for the M-16 rifle. The purchase and delivery papers indicate that the bullets were meant for deployment to war-torn Sulu.
A report by the fact-finding team organized by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) for the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) on the killing of at least 30 journalists/media practitioners in the Maguindanao massacre.
The team was composed of representatives from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Davao-based news organization MindaNews, the PCIJ, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the FFFJ.
As a peace advocate who has considered Muslim Mindanao as my second region (after Bicol), I join so many others in their shock at and condemnation of what is now called the Maguindanao Massacre of 23 November 2009, likewise in expressing sympathies for the close relatives and friends of those who were killed, especially two fellow human rights lawyers, and calling for speedy justice and other necessary measures of redress and reform. There will never be enough words to describe this almost unbelievably depraved and inhuman incident.
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