Philippine Democratic Left Parties statements regarding Ampatuan Massacre and the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao
AKBAYAN (Citizens Action Party) Rep. Risa Hontiveros warned today that the ‘a dangerous, scary scenario is being created in Mindanao to rationalize the declaration of Martial Law all over the country’ as she condemned both the unconstitutional proclamation by Malacanang putting Maguindanao under martial law and the recent bombing in Jolo.
“There appears to be a concerted effort to create a climate of fear to justify an Arroyo dictatorship,” Rep. Hontiveros said. “There is no basis for the martial law proclamation. If thousands of government troops cannot secure Maguindanao and get the perpetrators of the massacre, then what we have is not rebellion or invasion but a failure of government not just in Maguindanao but also at the national level.”
Rep. Hontiveros added that an unconstitutional act cannot solve lawlessness. “The declaration is an unconstitutional act. It would only further the climate of lawlessness and impunity in Maguindanao,” she said. “President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) is not solving impunity. She is in fact deepening the same environment that gave birth to the Ampatuans in our country.”
She called on Congress to revoke the declaration. “Unlike the impeachment, this is not a numbers game. This is not a loyalty test. Your loyalty to your president should end where your loyalty to your constitution begins,” she urged her colleagues.
“Our failure to revoke the declaration would be a dangerous precedent. What would prevent the GMA administration from using the situation in Mindanao to put the entire nation under martial law? This is too much, and for once Congress should stand up for the constitution and our people,” Rep. Hontiveros added.
“This is no longer a question of who is pro-admin or who is not. The line would be drawn not according to parties but according to the respect for the constitution and for that dark moment in our history. We cannot allow the dictatorship to happen again,” she said. ###
Martial Law in Maguindanao -- Cover Up for GMA!
Partido Lakas ng Masa (Power of the Laboring Masses - PLM)
The declaration of martial law in Maguindanao by the Arroyo government is a cover up. The principle aim of martial law is to prevent the truth about the Maguindanao massacre and the background events that led to the massacre, including the role of the GMA regime in cuddling the Ampatuan clan warlords, from being uncovered.
The proclamation of martial law took place last night, soon after the discovery of the arms cache buried in the compound of one of the Ampatuan households. There were enough deadly weapons to arm a military brigade. They also had Department of National Defense markings on them thus directly implicating the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police at the highest level, including it’s Commander-in-Chief Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as having provided these arms to her close allies the Ampatuan political clan.
It’s also a prelude to a no-election scenario maneuvered by the GMA regime to prevent Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from being successfully prosecuted for corruption and plunder.
Lift Martial Law Now!
Arrest and prosecute the Ampatuans!
Justice Now, for the Maguindanao 57!
GMA Must Resign!
Labor party-list warns Pampanga will be next Maguindanao if GMA becomes Speaker
Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party - Philippines)
The labor party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) warned that Pampanga will be the next Maguindanao where political dynasties rule with impunity should President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wins a congressional seat in the second district of the province and later becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives.
"We ask the voters of the second district of Pampanga to be vigilant in choosing their next congressional representative. Moreover we call on the people to vote for militant party-list groups and proven anti-GMA congressional candidates so that Arroyo will not be able to control the next House of Representatives," explained Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson
The group said that the discovery of a cache of AFP-issued high powered firearms near the compound of the Ampatuans reveals how the administration-allied political dynasty has been able to rule by force with the full backing of the government including the army. "In Maguindanao, the AFP serves as the not-so-private army of the Ampatuans with the apparent blessing of Camp Aguinaldo and Malacanang. That is GMA's way of paying back her heavy debt of gratitude to the Ampatuans for her incredible landslide victory in Maguindanao in the fraudulent 2004 elections," Magtubo added.
The PM leader furthered that while anti-GMA congressional bets maybe trapos themselves, voting for them in so that GMA is thwarted in her bid to be the next House speaker will be a fair warning to all politicians. Magtubo insisted that "The voters must send a message that they have zero tolerance to impunity and that a decade of GMA in power is already too much. Thus a crucial step in blocking GMA’s backdoor entry into Malacanang as Prime Minister is to ensure she does not become House Speaker."
PM is also calling on voters to use the party-list ballot as an opportunity to place non-trapos in Congress who will not just oppose GMA's bid for speakership but also fight social change in the counrty. PM is running for the party-list elections on a platform of protecting workers welfare and reversing the pro-globalization policies. The group has already endorsed the senatorial candidacy of detained ex-general Danny Lim for being a "rebel with a cause."
AKBAYAN pays homage to its fallen comrade Taya Samud.
Tuesday, 08 December 2009
Comrade Samud, the Akbayan Maguindanao vice-chairperson and incumbent municipal councilor of Northern Kabuntalan, was slain by unknown assailants in Cotabato city.
He was a few meters from his house waiting to board a jeep when he was killed.
Taya Samud was a former NGO worker under the Institute of Strategic Initiatives, a member of Simcarrd Inc., before he entered local politics in 2005.
Taya is an active practitioner of participatory governance being a highly trained specialist conducting BDP-PRA, being the lead community organizer of ISI in the Iranun municipalities of Buldon, Barira and Matanog. He also introduced BDP-PRA in his hometown together with other co-workers in ISI who now works as municipal government employees in Kabuntalan.
No motive has been established in relation to the killing but this is most likely related to local politics.
Taya is aligned with the incumbent municipal officials who are now being challenged by other warlords.
Akbayan-Mindanao is also concerned about the specter of rising political violence in the run up to the 2010 elections especially since a power vacuum has occurred after the November 23 Maguindanao massacre.
Some 57 civilians were killed by a group of heavily armed groups identified by police as led by Mayor Andaly Ampatuan, Jr. of Datu Unsay town. The imposition of martial law in Maguindanao also gave rise to abuses as it was reported that civilians were harassed by soldiers in their homes and all males are subjected to bodily searches and arrest.
Akbayan calls for an investigation into his killing as it warned of human rights abuses that will be committed against innocent civilians under Proclamation 1959 putting Maguindanao under martial law. It urged for the revocation of martial law in Maguindanao while ensuring that speedy justice be given the the Maguindanao massacre victims.
Taya Samud is survived by his wife and two children.
AKBAYAN - Citizens Action Party
The Anak Mindanao party-list (AMIN) today urges the Arroyo government to act swiftly and decisively in giving justice to the hapless victims of the massacre in Maguindanao.
The Arroyo government must act swiftly and decisively now to bring all the perpetrators and masterminds to justice, irrespective of their positions or political affiliations.
As a representative of the Anak Mindanao Party-list, I condemn in the strongest terms possible the senseless, barbaric and mindless massacre of civilians, women and journalists in Maguindanao. The massacre last Monday shows us how many of our politicians have been so corrupted by power that they will go to the extent of silencing forever those who show opposition to them.
I call on politicians in Mindanao to respect the rights of everyone and not use their position of political power for their own interests.
As AMIN, together with other institutions and sectors, tirelessly work for peace and development of Mindanao, last Monday’s massacre is a big and humiliating slap on all our efforts to stop the prevailing culture of impunity in our country, especially in Mindanao.
There are no words strong enough to condemn this senseless and dastardly act. Those who carried it out and their masterminds and barbarians so demented by power and self-interests that they appropriate to themselves government power that rightfully still resides in the people.
Their dastardly act in murdering defenseless civilians, women and journalists show their contempt for government and Filipino values.
I, therefore, urged the government to leave no stone unturned in delivering justice to the victims. Let the harshest punishment our government can mete fall on those who should be punished for this incomprehensible and contemptuous act regardless of their personal, economic, social standing and political affiliations.
At the same time, I call on the government to assist the families, especially the children, left behind by the victims.
Admittedly, this cowardly act will put on hold Mindanawons’ efforts in attaining peace and development for the island but this will never defeat all our efforts in changing global perception that Mindanao can be the center of development in whole Philippines.
To all peace and development workers, especially those in Mindanao, I heartily call on all of you to redouble all our efforts and continue to work hard to make our beloved island of Mindanao to be the center of development. Let us forge ahead and let not this unfortunate event defeat our resolve and our spirit in fighting for equity, peace and development.
Hon. Ariel C. Hernandez
Anak Mindanao Party-list (Sons & Daughters of Mindanao)
Solons must Convene Joint Session to End Martial Law
Sunday, 06 December 2009
Firmly believing that Martial Law will not put an end to the pervasive infighting among warlords in Maguindanao and will only delay the resolution of the November 23 massacre, Akbayan Party-List called on members of the Lower House and the Senate to convene in Joint Session to invalidate Presidential Proclamation 1959, proclaiming a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the province of Maguindanao.
“First thing tomorrow morning, we in Akbayan will file with the lower house a concurrent resolution convening the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives in joint session to assess and vote on the merits of Malacanang’s Martial Law declaration,” Akbayan Party-List Representative Walden Bello told the media on Sunday morning.
“Ang pag-ko-convene ng joint session ang nagiisang tamang paraan para malaman natin kung sinusuportahan or tinututulan ng mayorya sa Kongreso ang deklarasyon ni Gg. Arroyo,” Rep. Bello answered Lower House Speaker Prospero Nograles’ assertion that there was no need to “go into joint sessions if we agree with the President.” On Saturday, the Speaker called for also called for a Monday afternoon caucus with all members of the House of Representatives.
Understanding What the Law Says
According to Atty. Barry Gutierrez, Akbayan Legal Counsel and Director of the UP College of Law Institute for Human Rights, the grounds for declaring martial law have been narrowed to “[actual] invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it,” in contrast to the 1973 and 1935 Constitutions which allowed “invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof” as basis. The mere threat of rebellion, without an actual armed uprising, cannot be a valid justification for declaring martial law or suspending the privilege of the writ.
Upon convening, the joint session of congress must therefore evaluate whether or not there was invasion or rebellion, or whether or not public safety required Martial Law.
Article VII, Section 18 of the constitution provides in part –
“Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. x x x The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without any need of a call.”
While the constitution does not provide for the explicit requirement that Congress convene in joint session to either receive the report, or deliberate on it and vote whether or not to revoke, this is however “strongly implied by the last sentence, which covers the situation where Congress, if it is not in session, must convene within 24 hours without need of call,” explained Atty. Gutierrez. “If Congress has to convene if it is not in session, isn’t it but logical that it has to do the same if it is in session?”
“Without a joint session, there will be no opportunity for Congress to review and evaluate the validity of the proclamation or suspension – contrary to the apparent intention of the provision which is for Congress to act as a safeguard against an abuse of this Presidential power. Similarly, there will be no venue to hold the vote to revoke,” Atty. Barry explained that this provision of the Constitution was enacted precisely to avoid what happened in 1972, when immediately after the proclamation of martial law, Congress was padlocked and many of its members were thrown in jail. “It is the height of irony that now, with the Constitution expressly authorizing Congress to review a proclamation of martial law, Congress is apparently unwilling to take on the function and instead would just rather leave everything to the Executive.”
Arroyo and Mindanao Politics
“Mindanao is always hostage to the power play of national politics,” Tom Villarin from Akbayan Mindanao said in the press conference.
Arroyo and the Ampatuans have maintained a mutually beneficial political relationship – one where the Ampatuans ensured Arroyo the presidency by stealing the votes from ARMM in exchange for the unhampered perpetuation of their power in ARMM politics. It is thus not too far off the mark to say that Arroyo is using Martial Law to protect her secret keepers and prevent the damning evidence for a sure conviction.
“Malacanang’s bag of tricks is never empty. Martial law is a sinister plot to acquit Ampatuan, provide a smokescreen to use ARMM’s P8B budget for Arroyo and the administration’s political gains, and test the congress and the Supreme Court’s resove over Mrs. Arroyo’s use of emergency powers,” Villarin warned. “This could be the prelude to a national state of emergency if Metro Manila gets a dose of Mindanao’s violence.”
Dismantling Private Armies, Issuing Justice for the Victims of the Massacre, Ensuring Democratic Elections
“Bilang kinatawan ng sambayanang Pilipino, kailangan nating ma-evaluate ang deklarasyon ng Martial Law at kailangan nating pagbotohan kung nararapat ba ito o hindi sa panahong hinaharap natin,” Rep. Bello said.
“Before the declaration of Martial Law, investigations into the Maguindanao Massacre have made significant progress –all the Ampatuans suspected of the crime have been arrested, large arms caches have already been confiscated, solid evidence against the perpetrators of the massacre is steadfastly being uncovered and recovered,” Rep. Bello continued.
“Martial Law disrupted any semblance of normalcy in the lives of already-distraught people in Maguindanao. We are also talking about the disruption of transparent investigations and the delay of justice for the victims of this heinous crime. On top of that, we are looking at the Mrs. Arroyo’s desperate attempts to maintain her hold on power and save herself from criminal prosecution.”
“To convene in anything less than a joint session, such as a caucus, is to trivialize issues that confront the Filipino people and delay true democratic nation building processes,” Rep. Bello concluded. “Akbayan urges our colleagues in the House of Representatives and in the Senate to end Martial law, stand up against Malacanang’s brand of warlordism, and defend the peoples’ right to peaceful democratic elections and swift justice.” ###
Labor party-list group calls on Congress to revoke PP 1959
Monday, December 7, 2009
Calling the martial law imposed on Maguindanao as “a cure worse than the disease,” the labor party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on Congress to revoke the Presidential Proclamation 1959 in its joint session tomorrow.
Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson said that “Martial law means giving full power to the military to rule over Maguindanao yet the AFP itself is suspect in coddling and colluding with the warlord clan of the Ampatuans. The large cache of buried military-issue weapons found near the property of the Ampatuans reveals their unholy alliance with AFP. How then can the military rule deliver justice to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre when it has a cozy relationship with the suspect Ampatuans?”
The group is asking voters to watch how the senators and representatives will act on the review of PP 1959. “The elections are coming to town in just a few months and so the solons should bear in mind that people are looking who will be naughty and nice. We appeal to the people not to vote for legislators who will affirm PP 1959,” Magtubo declared.
PM argues that sustaining PP 1959 will lead to more abuses. “Already the AFP vice chief of staff for operations is recommending an extension of martial law up to the elections supposedly to ensure peaceful and credible elections. This is classic example of military intelligence. It is precisely the military-controlled areas in Mindanao which are notorious for poll cheating and stories abound of wholesale fraud in military camps where election watchers are easily intimidated,” Magtubo asserted.
“In a bid to explain the incredible, ex-General Jovito Palparan has confessed to the fact that indeed the military was arming the Ampatuans on the sorry excuse that they were allies in the fight against Muslim rebels. Yet the Ampatuans are not just allies of the AFP against the MILF, they are collaborators of GMA in past fraudulent elections. There may be a hidden agenda in the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao,” he added.
Martial Law is Malacanang Warlordism
With the Martial Law declaration under fire for its constitutionality and validity, AKBAYAN Party-List warns against it being used as a means for Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to stay in power.
“Mrs. Arroyo is a warlord of national proportions – several instances of military mobilizations have already established that Mrs. Arroyo is not afraid to unleash the full force of the military against her detractors. She wanted to implement martial law at certain points in the last few year,” AKBAYAN Party-list Rep. Walden Bello warned after a weekend of martial rule in Maguindanao. “Finally, she used martial law to deal with police matters in Maguindanao, clearly exposing her desperation.”
Aside excessive use of military force, Rep. Bello also pointed at how the House leadership dragged its feet to respond to concerns that martial law is out of line. House Speaker Nograles, Arroyo’s yes-man in Congress, simply called for an all-members’ caucus scheduled for Monday afternoon even as the constitution mandates Congress and Senate to convene 48 hours after the declaration of martial law to receive the executive’s report on the matter. “Obviously, the Speaker has already received marching orders from Malacanang to minimize resistance to the President’s martial law,” Rep. Bello pointed out.
“Ang mahirap dito, naiiba na ang tono ng prosecution sa mga Ampatuan,” Rep. Bello continued. “Hindi na murder ang usapin ngayon dahil ang inihahandang kaso ay rebellion. Hindi natin dapat pagkamalang acts of rebellion ang ginawa ng mga Ampatuan – sila ay warlords na hinubog ni Gg. Arroyo, nasa kamay nila ang dugo ng mga inosenteng tao naging biktima ng massacre.”
“Hasn’t AFP Spokesperson General Pangilinan stated that armed groups connected with the Ampatuans might be fleeing and setting themselves in neighboring provinces in ARMM and Mindanao? Is this not preparing us for the possibility that martial law might be extended in the immediate future to ARMM and even the whole of Mindanao?” Rep. Bello also pondered the possible extension of Martial Law beyond the borders of Maguindanao and even after the 60-day constitutional limit. “Humihingi na nga sila ng extension ng Martial law hanggang eleksyon!”
“We must never, never for a moment underestimate the capacity of the President to turn a crisis of her presidency into an opportunity for perpetuating herself in power,” Rep. Bello concluded. “We urge our colleagues in the Lower House and the Senate to come together and end martial law before it creeps out of Maguindanao and conquer the nation. We in the Legislative have the power to counter this creeping martial law and finally end Mrs. Arroyo’s warlord reign.”###
30 Journalists and Media Workers Killed in Maguindanao Massacre
1. Adolfo, Benjie, Gold Star Daily, Koronadal City
2. Araneta, Henry, Radio DZRH, General Santos City
3. Arriola, Mark Gilbert “Mac-Mac,” UNTV, General Santos City
4. Bataluna, Rubello, Gold Star Daily, Koronadal City
5. Betia, Arturo, Periodico Ini, General Santos City
6. Cabillo, Romeo Jimmy, Midland Review, Tacurong City
7. Cablitas, Marites, News Focus, General Santos City
8. Cachuela, Hannibal, Punto News, Koronadal City
9. Caniban, John, Periodico Ini, General Santos City
10. Dalmacio, Lea, Socsargen News, General Santos City
11. Decina, Noel, Periodico Ini, General Santos City
12. Dela Cruz, Gina, Saksi News, General Santos City
13. Dohillo, Eugene, UNTV, General Santos City
14. Duhay, Jhoy, Gold Star Daily, Tacurong City
15. Gatchalian, Santos, DXGO, Davao City
16. Legarte, Bienvenido, Jr., Prontiera News, Koronadal City
17. Lupogan, Lindo, Mindanao Daily Gazette, Davao City
18. Maravilla, Ernesto “Bart,” Bombo Radyo, Koronadal City
19. Merisco, Rey, Periodico Ini, Koronadal City
20. Momay, Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay, Midland Review, Tacurong City
21. Montaño, Marife “Neneng,” Saksi News, General Santos City
22. Morales, Rosell, News Focus, General Santos City
23. Nuñez, Victor, UNTV, General Santos City
24. Perante, Ronnie, Gold Star Daily correspondent, Koronadal City
25. Parcon, Joel, Prontiera News, Koronadal City
26. Razon, Fernando “Rani,” Periodico Ini, General Santos City
27. Reblando, Alejandro “Bong,” Manila Bulletin, General Santos City
28. Salaysay, Napoleon, Mindanao Gazette, Cotabato City
29. Subang, Ian, Socsargen Today, General Santos City
30. Teodoro, Andres “Andy,” Central Mindanao Inquirer, Tacurong City
Still unaccounted for: Evardo, Jolito, UNTV General Santos City
The 30 media workers killed in Maguindanao bring to 134 the number of journalists killed in the Philippines since 1986.
Of the total, 74 cases or more than half, were recorded from 2001, or under the watch of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. – Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, November 2009