The whole world was shocked and appalled by the barbaric killings. Once again, the Philippines is back on the world stage of notoriety and shame. CNN said that the country topples Iraq as the world's most dangerous place for journalists. How could this happen? The administration of Gloria Arroyo should answer to the Filipino people for this. For it is her administration which allows this to go on.
As a Filipino, it pains me to hear the word 'Philippines' mixed with killings, impunity, lawlessness, massacre. It is even sadder to note that as of yesterday there were 21 women who were among the victims of the atrocious crime committed in Maguindanao last Monday. These were wives, mothers, daughters, and aunts who showed courage and bravery even if they knew the risks that they were taking when they accompanied they male relatives in filing their certificates of candidacies.
Another deplorable thing was the news report that some of these women were sexually assaulted before they were killed and others were mutilated. This is simply abominable. Esmael Mangudadatu was right. We should not call the killers 'animals' for they are monsters. Evil. I have seen a lot of injustices and evil things in my life but this one takes the cake.
To the victims of November 23, we will never forget you. To the women who suffered and were killed just because they wanted to show their support to the people whom they believed in, we honor you.
The Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (PANDAYAN) condemns in the strongest terms the brutal politically-motivated massacre in Maguindanao of women, lawyers, civilians and journalists.
Under the current administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Philippines has become the most dangerous place in the world for media workers. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), at least 74 journalists have been killed during its eight-year reign, yet this regime's response to end this culture of impunity is barbarically inept and ineffectual. This is unacceptable.
Forming a 14-member legal team to handle the Maguindanao massacre case is not enough. The regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should take firm and decisive actions and ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
We also call upon the PNP to completely revamp their ranks in the province to ensure that their people are non-partisan. Once perpetrators are positively identified, we urge that they be immediately arrested and put to jail.
Pandayan appeals to all parties concerned to restrain themselves from retributive acts of justice, and we condemn the pervading climate of impunity, coercion and terror to maintain or secure elective positions, that give rise to warlordism and further violence.
We urge the dismantling of all private armies and the confiscation of their firearms, starting with known warring factions not only in Maguindanao but also in places that historically are considered hot spots every election.
We call upon the COMELEC to impose the total gun ban now and not wait until January 2010. We call upon the PNP to strictly implement the ban to prevent further violence as we approach the 2010 elections.
We call upon the PNP to expedite the investigations and resolution of past incidences of violence against elected officials and political rivals, to have the will to prosecute the perpetrators of the crime regardless of political positions and connections. We urge both the AFP and the PNP to ensure their non-partisanship especially on the ground.
Pandayan also calls upon the Filipino people and on its volunteers nationwide to strengthen their ranks, exercise vigilance, and in their own respective areas lead in identifying and monitoring potential threat to the security situation.
Pandayan supports the COMELEC and encourages the PNP to fulfill their tasks to ensure the holding of a truly credible and peaceful elections in May 2010.
The Filipino people and the whole world are watching and will continue to watch this case. Pandayan will make sure that we will never forget November 23. Finally, we extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and colleagues of all those killed in Maguindanao.
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