Statement of the PWNPS on the Maguindanao Massacre
The Philippine Women's Network for Peace and Security (PWNPS) condemns in the strongest possible terms the perpetrators of what is now referred to as the Maguindanao Massacre. Never in the most recent history of this bloodied nation have we seen this brutality of carnage, all for a possibility of a three year term as an official of this land!
As the figures continue to rise as bodies continue to be unearthed from the wasteland called Sharif Aguak, the municipality where more than 60 maimed and dismembered bodies of women, men and children have been recovered, we grieve and clench our fist in solidarity with the families and friends of those who died in this unbelievable massacre. As Fr. Jun Mercado (OMI) wrote:
"November 23rd is now etched in the history of the province as the day of shameless ignominy. On that day, a convoy of the women folks of the Mangudadatu clan accompanied by media people and their women lawyers on their way to the Capitol of the Province in Sharif Aguak municipality was stopped by PNP forces with hundreds of armed civilian volunteer organizations (under the command of the PNP) along the national highway in Ampatuan municipality. The convoy was directed to take the farm road leading to a deep hole meant to be the mass grave of the entire members of the convoy and also the other vehicles that happened to follow the convoy...
"... This COMELEC decision [to transfer its satellite office in Sharif Aguak and the requirement to file the certificates of candidacy in the `capitol' ] has forced the Mangudadatu to go into the heartland of the Ampatuan clan. The Vice Mayor Toto Mangudadatu decided to go and file his certificate of candidacy. But he was prevailed upon by the mother to let the women do the filing… The mother and the religious leaders believed that an all-women delegation accompanied by media people and women lawyers would be respected. Islam strongly enjoins believers to respect women and children even during times of war."
We were all wrong. Even in "peace time", women are not given dignity. In Islam where women and children are supposedly not to be harmed even in war, the massacre showed us that the murderers had no heart, no soul to follow this revered moral and religious tradition.
To date, except for the supposed "voluntary surrender" of one Ampatuan guy, which was done in the most civil, kids' gloved manner, no one has been charged. Despite all the bravura of announcements upon announcements from Malacañang calling for justice for the victims, no one has been able to tell the Filipino people who masterminded the massacre. Despite the presence of the backhoe officially traced to the local government offices. "Circumstantial evidence", says our officials and probers. Cannot hold water in court, they say in haste even before any proper and genuine investigation could happen. How could they think that all Filipinos are naive or stupid!
It appears, as eyewitness accounts slowly come out, that the "grave" meant to hold people and vehicle, had been dug days before.
More than 20 journalists were killed. Women and children from the Mangudadatu clan are dead. Two women lawyers, Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela 56, and Cynthia Oquendo 35, died. How many more bodies does Malacanang want to have to begin in earnest, and with deep respect for the victims' families and the entire nation, arresting the mastermind and the implementers of this crime!
On November 29th, women's organizations and human rights group commemorate the fourth International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders and anniversary of the First International Consultation on Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs), organized in 2005 by several human rights organizations in SriLanka. From November 25 to December 10 is the global commemoration of the “16 Days of Activism Campaign to Eliminate Violence against Women and Children”. On December 10, the world celebrates International Human Rights Day.
With the Maguindanao Massacre, these commemorations are more deeply felt and assume greater significance. These in fact are not simply events to remember; these are the gruesome reminders that despite the modernity of our civilization, uncivilized evil reside in our midst.
The GMA Administration must take full responsibility for the Maguindanao Massacre. The blood of the victims lay on the doors of Malacañang.
Justice for the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre!
Justice for our journalists and media people!
Justice for our Women Human Rights Defenders!
Justice for the Filipino people!
November 28, 2009
Ref: email@example.com; admin.wedprophils.org
Here is a petition with demands of justice for the Ampuatan Massacre. Please read and sign if you are so moved.