Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Victims of Maguindanao Massacre

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) clamors for decisive government action that'll bring to justice as soon as possible the perpetrators of the Nov. 23 massacre in Maguindanao province.

"Philippine National Police and the executive department must be put to task, not only to respond to the killings, but to deliver expeditious justice," CHR Chairperson Leila de Lima said.

"Several underpinning of power and influence in Maguinanao politics" must be overcome "without any delay," she said.

Police were looking at politics motivated the massacre as its perpetrators belonged to the ruling Ampatuan clan's private army while the victims were relatives and supporters of Buluan town Vice-Mayor Ismael Mangudadatu, who already confirmed plans of running next year as governor of the province.

Members of this ill-fated group were travelling with Mangudadatu's wife Genalyn last Monday to accompany her in filing the vice-mayor's certificate of candidacy (COC) for governor when some 100 armed men reportedly abducted them at gunpoint in broad daylight.

Several local journalists, including DZRH's Henry Araneta and Manila Bulletin's Bong Reblando, also travelled with this group to cover the COC filing.

Later that day, authorities discovered corpses belonging to 21 of the group's members.

The dead were either shot, beheaded or mutilated.

Some of the women casualties were reportedly raped also.

Mangudadatu confirmed his wife and several family members were among those whom the bandits slaughtered.

"This is an outrage – what kind of animals are those killers?" a stunned de Lima charged.

Authorities continue searching for other members of the group which Mangudadatu described as having been composed of some 50 people including the journalists.

Fearing the Mangudadatu clan's possible vendetta on the Ampatuans, de Lima called for immediate government action on the matter.

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