Maguindanao massacre

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Maguindanao Massacre
Ph locator map maguindanao.png
Map of the Philippines with Maguindanao highlighted
Location Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Mindanao, Philippines
Date November 23, 2009
approx. 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (UTC +8)
Target Esmael Mangudadatu's family members, supporters, journalists
Attack type
Massacre
Weapon(s) Small arms
Deaths 58
Esmael Mangudadatu's family members and supporters, and accompanying journalists[1]
Non-fatal injuries
At least 4[specify][citation needed]
Suspected perpetrators
Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and his clan
Number of participants
approx. 100

The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre after the town where the mass graves were found,[2] occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. While the 58 victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and brutally killed. Mangudadatu was challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and member of one of Mindanao's leading Muslim political clans,[3] in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election,[4] part of the national elections in 2010. The people killed included Mangudadatu's wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history.[5] At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre.[6] In a statement, CPJ executive director Joel Simon noted that the killings, "appears to be single deadliest event for the press since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records on journalist deaths."[5] The CPJ further noted that, "Even as we tally the dead in this horrific massacre, our initial research indicates that this is the deadliest single attack on the press ever documented by CPJ."[5] Even before the Maguindanao massacre, the CPJ had labeled the Philippines the second most dangerous country for journalists, second only to Iraq.[5]

Background[edit]

The Ampatuans had been in control of Maguindanao since 2001. Andal Ampatuan, Sr. came first into prominence when President Corazon Aquino appointed him as Chief-of-Offices of Maganoy (now Shariff Aguak) in 1986 right after the People Power Revolution. Aquino, having come into power via revolutionary means, replaced every locally elected official with officers-in-charge, although the town of Maganoy was approached differently; the aging mayor, Pinagayaw Ampatuan, was replaced by his vice mayor, Andal Sr. He won the 1988 local elections, then served for ten years. In the 1998 elections, Andal Sr. was elected as governor.[7]

Members of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lists Andal Sr., as a major ally in Mindanao. Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional governor Zaldy Ampatuan was the party's regional chairman. Andal Sr., the family patriarch, has been provincial governor since 1998; he has been elected three times, unopposed. Eighteen of the mayors in Maguindanao belong to the clan. The elder Ampatuan attributed his popularity to "popular support," adding "Because I am so loved by the constituencies of the municipalities, they ask me to have my sons as representatives." In the 2004 presidential elections, Arroyo won 69% of Maguindanao's vote; three years later, the party-backed coalition scored a 12–0 sweep of the senatorial elections in the province. Unable to run for a third term, he is currently grooming his son, Andal, Jr., to succeed him as governor.[8][9]

With escalating tensions in the province, Arroyo, as head of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, mediated between the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus (both are from the same party) to prevent election-related violence. Three meetings were held in mid-2009, with one meeting hosted by then Secretary of National Defense and current party chairman Gilberto Teodoro, who ran to succeed Arroyo as president but was defeated by current president, Noynoy Aquino. Arroyo's adviser for political affairs Gabriel Claudio, disclosed that there was an initial agreement "in principle" that no Mangudadatu would contest Ampatuan Sr.'s gubernatorial post.[10]

Attack[edit]

Location of Buluan, the origin of the convoy, in Maguindanao.
Location of Shariff Aguak, the destination of the convoy, in Maguindanao.
Location of Ampatuan, the location where the massacre took place, in Maguindanao.

Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu invited 37 journalists to cover the scheduled filing of his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections provincial office in Shariff Aguak. He said reports had reached him that his rivals had threatened to chop him into pieces once he filed his COC, and felt the presence of journalists would deter such an attack.

A local report stated that at about 9:00 AM, a convoy of six vehicles carrying journalists, lawyers, and relatives of Vice Mayor Mangudadatu left Buluan to file his COC at the Comelec office in Shariff Aguak. The convoy was composed of six vehicles: four Toyota Grandia vans (one grey, one green, and two white) owned by the Mangudadatu family; and two media vehicles – a Mitsubishi Pajero owned by DZRH broadcast journalist Henry Araneta, and a Mitsubishi L-300 van owned by UNTV. There was a seventh vehicle, a Grandia boarded by mediamen, but it lagged behind and decided to turn around once the passengers sensed what was happening. There were two other vehicles that were not part of the convoy but happened to be traveling on the same highway: a red Toyota Vios and a light blue Toyota Tamaraw FX. The Vios had five passengers: Eduardo Lechonsito, a government employee who was bound for a hospital in Cotabato City after suffering a mild stroke Monday morning. He was with his wife Cecille, co-workers Mercy Palabrica and Daryll delos Reyes, and driver Wilhelm Palabrica. The FX was driven by Anthony Ridao, employee of the National Statistics Coordination Board, and son of Cotabato City councilor Marino Ridao.

Before reaching its destination (about 10 km from Shariff Aguak, four on other versions), the convoy was stopped by 100 armed men, who abducted and later killed most or all of its members.[6] There is evidence that at least five of the female victims, four of them journalists, were raped before being killed,[11] while "practically all" of the women had been shot in their genitals[12] and beheaded.[13] Mangudadatu's youngest sister and aunt were both pregnant at the time of their murders.[14]

In a text message sent by Mangudadatu's wife to him, she identified the people that blocked their way as the men of Ampatuan Jr, and that he himself slapped her.[15]

An excavator located in the immediate vicinity of the carnage at Ampatuan town was identified as the instrument that was used to dig the graves of the victims two days beforehand, and then to bury them, including the vehicles.[16] The perpetrators were not able to complete the job when a helicopter was spotted in the area. The excavator, emblazoned with the name of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., was later identified to belong to the Maguindanao provincial government.[17]

As of November 25, the death toll had risen to 57, as confirmed by Chief Superintendent Josefino Cataluna of the Philippine National Police.[18][19][20] Reporters Without Borders announced that at least 12 of the victims were journalists, making this the deadliest such incident in the history of news media.[21] The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines originally estimated that a total of 20 journalists were killed, including an undisclosed number of NUJP members.[19] The Philippine Daily Inquirer later updated the number of journalists killed to 34.[6]

On November 24, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo responded to the news of the massacre by declaring a state of emergency in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City.[20] Speaker of the House Prospero Nograles called on the police to quickly identify the perpetrators of the massacre and disarm private armies.[22] The Philippine Department of Justice created a panel of special prosecutors to handle cases arising from the massacre.[23]

Aftermath[edit]

Nueva Ecija Rep. Eduardo Nonato N. Joson said the massacre might affect, or even lead to the cancellation of, the scheduled 2010 presidential elections.[22] Candidates in the election condemned the massacre.[24]

On Wednesday, November 25, 2009, the executive committee of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD political party unanimously voted to expel three members of the Ampatuan family – Maguindanao Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his two sons, Gov. Datu Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. – from the party for their alleged role in the Maguindanao massacre.[25] An emergency meeting of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD was held in Pasig, during which the Ampatuans were stripped of their membership.[5]

On Thursday, November 26, 2009, Ampatuan Jr. surrendered to his brother Zaldy, was delivered to adviser to the peace process Jesus Dureza, then was flown to General Santos on his way to Manila, where he was taken to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters.[26][27] Police in the Philippines charged Andal Ampatuan Jr. with murder.[28] Ampatuan denied the charges, claiming that he was at the provincial capitol in Shariff Aguak when the massacre took place. He instead blamed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), specifically Ombra Kato, as the mastermind, a charge the MILF dismissed as "absurd."[29][30]

Mangudadatu successfully filed his certificate of candidacy at Shariff Aguak on November 27. He was accompanied by Lakas-Kampi-CMD chairman and presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro, along with a caravan of 50 vehicles, to "ensure his safety."[31]

Declaration of martial law[edit]

On December 4, 2009, through Proclamation No. 1959, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo officially placed Maguindanao province under a state of martial law, thereby suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.[32] Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the step was taken in order to avert the escalation of "lawless" violence in the province and pave the way for the swift arrest of the suspects in the massacre.[33][34] Following the declaration, authorities carried out a raid on a warehouse owned by Andal Ampatuan Jr.[35] The raid resulted in the confiscation of more than 330,000 rounds of 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition, a Humvee, and an improvised armored vehicle. Twenty militiamen were arrested on the premises.Captain James Nicolas of Special Forces was able to retrieve more high powered firearms and ammo after the incident.[36] The state of martial law in Maguindanao was lifted on December 13, 2009.

Media fundraising[edit]

UNTV-37 arranged a fund-raising concert at the Araneta Coliseum for the families of 32 media men who perished in the attack.

Legal proceedings[edit]

At least 198 suspects, including Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Andal Ampatuan Sr. and several other members of the Ampatuan clan, have been charged with murder. In April 2010, the government dropped murder charges against Zaldy Ampatuan and Akhmad Ampatuan who had presented alibis. This led to protests by family members of the victims.[37]

Senator Joker Arroyo has remarked that with nearly 200 defendants and 300 witnesses, the trial could take 200 years.[38] Prosecution lawyer Harry Roque has computed that it would last more than 100 years.[39] In a statement commemorating the massacre, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility remarked that the trial was "ongoing, but is rather moving slowly."[40]

Andal Ampatuan Sr. was arraigned in a special court inside a Manila maximum-security prison on June 1, 2011, 18 months after he and a dozen family members were arrested over the killings. After a court clerk read the names of the 57 victims, he was asked to enter a plea and responded in English, “Not guilty.”[41]

As of November 23, 2011, two years after the massacre, only Andal Sr. and his son Andal Jr. had been charged, and some 100 of the 197 persons listed on the charge sheet were still unaccounted for.[42]

On June 28, 2012, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition of Anwar Ampatuan to have the murder charges against him quashed.[43][44] Anwar Ampatuan is the grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., and is charged with 57 counts of murder. He was arrested in August 2012. In September 2012, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court deferred his arraignment pending resolution of a pending motion to determine if there is probable cause to prosecute him for the charged 57 counts of murder.[45]

In November 2012, acting on a motion filed by Andal Ampatuan Jr., the Supreme Court set guidelines disallowing the live media broadcast of the trial but allowing the filming of the proceedings for real-time transmissions to specified viewing areas and for documentation. This ruling was in reconsideration of an earlier ruling which had allowed live media coverage.[46]

Victims[edit]

Monument, National Press Club of the Philippines

Mangudadatu family and associates[edit]

Name Description
Genalyn Tiamson-Mangudadatu Wife of Esmael Mangudadatu.
Eden Mangudadatu Municipal Vice Mayor of Mangudadatu, Maguindanao, sister of Esmael Mangudadatu.
Rowena Mangudadatu cousin of Esmael Mangudadatu.
Manguba Mangudadatu Aunt of Esmael Mangudadatu.[47]
Faridah Sabdulah Lawyer[48]
Farida Mangudadatu Youngest sister of Esmael Mangudadatu.[47]
Farina Mangudadatu Another sister of Esmael Mangudadatu.
Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela, 56 Lawyer.[49]
Cynthia Oquendo, 36 Lawyer.
Catalino Oquendo Cynthia Oquendo's father.
Rasul Daud Driver of Sultan Kudarat Rep. Pax Mangudadatu.[47]

Journalists[edit]

Thirty-four journalists are known to have been abducted and killed in the massacre, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer and only 25 have been positively identified so far.[6]

Name Description
Alejandro "Bong" Reblando,[6] 53 Manila Bulletin correspondent,[50] a former Associated Press reporter.[51]
Henry Araneta DZRH correspondent based in General Santos City[6]
Napoleon “Nap” Salaysay[6] DZRO manager.
Bartolome “Bart” Maravilla Bombo Radyo Koronadal, South Cotabato.[6]
Jhoy Dojay Goldstar Daily.[6]
Andy Teodoro Central Mindanao Inquirer reporter.[6]
Ian Subang Mindanao Focus, a General Santos-based weekly community newspaper.[6]
Leah Dalmacio Mindanao Focus reporter.[6]
Gina Dela Cruz Mindanao Focus reporter.[6]
Maritess Cablitas Mindanao Focus reporter.[6]
Neneng Montano Saksi weekly newspaper reporter.[6]
Victor Nuñez UNTV reporter.[6]
Ronnie I. Diola UNTV cameraman.
Jolito Evardo UNTV editor
Daniel Tiamson UNTV driver
Reynaldo Momay Koronadal-based journalist.[6]
Rey Merisco Koronadal-based journalist.[6]
Ronnie Perante Koronadal-based journalist.[6]
Jun Legarta Koronadal-based journalist.[6]
Val Cachuela Koronadal-based journalist.[6]
Santos "Jun" Gatchalian Davao-based journalist.
Joel Parcon [6] Freelance journalist.
Noel Decena [6] Freelance journalist.
John Caniba [6] Freelance journalist.
Art Betia [6] Freelance journalist.
Ranie Razon [6] Freelance journalist.
Archie Ace David Freelance "Tambay" journalist.
Fernanado "Ferdz" Mendoza Freelance driver.

Red Toyota Vios[edit]

Number of casualties: 5. They were supposedly mistaken as part of the convoy.[52]

Name Description
Eduardo Lechonsito Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat government employee.
Cecille Lechonsito Wife of Eduardo Lechonsito.
Mercy Palabrica Co-worker of Eduardo Lechonsito.
Daryll delos Reyes Co-worker of Eduardo Lechonsito.
(unavailable) Driver.

Blue Toyota FX[edit]

Number of casualties: 1. Mistaken as part of the convoy.[2]

Name Description
Anthony Ridao National Statistics Coordination Board employee and son of Cotabato City councilor Marino Ridao.

Human Rights Watch report[edit]

On November 16, 2010, the international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch issued a 96 page report titled "They Own the People", charting the Ampatuans’ rise to power, including their use of violence to expand their control and eliminate threats to the family’s rule.[53] The report links the Ampatuans to at least 56 other killings over the last 20 years, apart from the November 23, 2009, massacre.[54]

In popular culture[edit]

History Asia premiered a documentary on the Maguindanao massacre entitled The Maguindanao Massacre on September 26, 2010.[55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jimenez-Gutierrez, Jason (November 23, 2010). "Philippines mourns massacre victims". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Analyn Perez (November 25, 2009). "The Ampatuan Massacre: a map and timeline". GMA News (gmanews.tv). 
  3. ^ Time. 2009-11-27 http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1943191,00.html |url= missing title (help). 
  4. ^ Jimenez-David, Rina (November 24, 2009). "Understanding the unbelievable". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved November 24, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Papa, Alcuin (2009-11-26). "Maguindanao massacre worst-ever for journalists". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Zonio, Aquilies (2009-11-24). "Inquirer man recounts harrowing tales of survival". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  7. ^ "Cory gave Ampatuan patriarch his break". Newsbreak Online. 2009-11-26. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  8. ^ "Maguindanao governor modern-day Godfather". INQUIRER.net. 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  9. ^ "21 killed in Maguindanao". INQUIRER.net. 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  10. ^ "Malacañang distances itself from mass murder". INQUIRER.net. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  11. ^ Solmerin, Florante S. (2009-12-04). "Lab results: 5 women showed signs of rape - /2009/december/4". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  12. ^ "Massacre women victims shot in genitals—DoJ chief". INQUIRER.net. 2009-11-27. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  13. ^ Henderson, Barney (2009-11-26). "Philippine massacre suspect surrenders". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  14. ^ "‘We can’t call them animals, they are monsters’". INQUIRER Politics. November 26, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Massacre planned, says Buluan vice mayor". INQUIRER.net. 2009-11-26. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  16. ^ "Official confirms mayor is the suspect in political massacre". gulfnews. 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  17. ^ Ramos, Marlon (2009-11-25). "Backhoe operator sought in Maguindanao massacre". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  18. ^ "5 more bodies uncovered in Philippine massacre". Google News. Associated Press. November 25, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-12-06. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  19. ^ a b "(UPDATE 2) Maguindanao massacre death toll reaches 52". ABS-CBN News. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  20. ^ a b Aie Balagtas See (2009-11-24). "Maguindanao killing field death toll rises to 46 – AFP". GMANews.TV. GMA Network. Retrieved November 24, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Twelve journalists killed on Mindanao island in "dark day for press freedom"". Press Freedom Index. Reporters without Borders. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 22010-09-30. 
  22. ^ a b Porcalla, Delon (November 25, 2009). "Authorities urged to identify perpetrators of Maguindanao massacre". The Philippine Star. Retrieved November 24, 2009. 
  23. ^ "DOJ creates panel on Maguindanao massacre". ABS-CBN News. November 24, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009. 
  24. ^ "2010 presidential bets condemn massacre". Manila Bulletin. November 24, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009. 
  25. ^ Zonio, Aquilies (2009-11-25). "3 Ampatuans expelled from admin party". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  26. ^ Kwok, Abigail (2009-11-26). "Ampatuan surrenders, to be flown to Manila". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  27. ^ Bordadora, Norman (2009-11-26). "Prosecutors OK murder charges vs Ampatuan". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  28. ^ Tran, Mark (2009-11-26). "Philippines massacre: police charge local politician with murder". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  29. ^ "Ampatuan Jr. claim vs MILF may be used in probe, says military exec". INQUIRER.net. 2009-11-27. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  30. ^ Señase, Charlie (2009-11-27). "‘Absurd,’ says MILF on Ampatuan claim". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  31. ^ "Mangudadatu files COC for Maguindanao gov". GMANews. 2009-11-27. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  32. ^ "Martial law declared in Maguindanao". 
  33. ^ "Arroyo declares martial law in Maguindanao province". GMANews.TV. 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  34. ^ "Full text: Arroyo's declaration of martial law in Maguindanao". GMANews.TV. December 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  35. ^ "20 militiamen arrested in Maguindanao raid – police". INQUIRER.net. 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  36. ^ "330,000 rounds of ammo recovered in Maguindanao raid". INQUIRER.net. 2009-12-05. Archived from the original on 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  37. ^ Jim Gomez (18 April 2010), "Philippines drops charges vs 2 massacre suspects", Associated Press (ABC News) 
  38. ^ Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Joker: 200 yrs for Ampatuan trial, Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 6, 2010.
  39. ^ Neal H. Cruz (July 28, 2011). "How long will Maguindanao massacre trial last?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  40. ^ Ampatuan Massacre commemoration on PJR Reports’ November-December issue, December 20, 2010.
  41. ^ Ampatuan Sr. pleads not guilty to massacre raps, June 2, 2011, The Manila Standard.
  42. ^ Ellson A. Quismorio (November 23, 2011). "Justice for Maguindanao victims remains elusive". Manila Bulletin. 
  43. ^ "Appellate court affirms indictment of another Ampatuan". Ampatuan Watch (Center for Media Freedom Responsibility). July 12, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Appellate court junks plea to dismiss murder raps vs Anwar Ampatuan". Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 11, 2012. 
  45. ^ "QC court defers arraignment of Ampatuan grandson". Philippine Daily Inquirer. September 5, 2012. 
  46. ^ "SC: No Live Coverage". Manila Bulletin. November 11, 2012. 
  47. ^ a b c "List of victims in Maguindanao massacre". 
  48. ^ AFP: Maguindanao death toll may reach 43 (November 23, 2009), Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  49. ^ "Slain lawyers among most ardent peace advocates in Mindanao". 
  50. ^ "Emergency rule in 2 provinces, 1 city". Mindanao Times. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2009-12-06. [dead link]
  51. ^ Tran, Mark (2009-11-26). "Philippines massacre: police charge local politician with murder". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  52. ^ "Innocent motorists among massacre victims in Ampatuan". GMANews.tv. November 25, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  53. ^ “They Own the People” (November 16, 2010), Human Rights Watch.
  54. ^ Mark D. Merueñas, Rights group: Ampatuans killed more people in 20 years (November 16, 2010), gmanews.tv.
  55. ^ "History Asia: The Maguindanao Massacre". Retrieved 2011-01-05. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]