Sunday, November 29, 2009

pure evil

(written on November 25,2009; 7:53PM)

I was not watching the news lately. I am sick and tired of these beaming politicians and their unending promises.

I was busy moderating the forum we have co-sponsored when my phone rang and several texts received. It was from my sister. It’s unusual. First, we had a misunderstanding for two weeks now and she never texted me. She probably came to her senses and has forgiven the spoiled brat. When I read her text, it was full of concern. She wanted to know where I was, if I was traveling and if I have companions.

She thought I was traveling again to Maguindanao. She chattered about the massacre in Buluan. She was alarmed since after Datu Paglas, I’ll be passing the municipality of Buluan, Pres. Roxas and Tacurong before I arriving to Marbel. She was talking about the massacre. I could not comprehend what she was talking and I promised her I’ll be off the traveling trail and I’m in on my writing process now.

After the forum, I immediately searched what's behidn her hysteria. And she, I and everyone has the right to be hysterical for the massacre in Sitio Salay, Brgy. Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao last November 23. What happened is the WORST Killings and the most violent in the history of pre- election violence.

Vice Mayor Esmael Toto Mangudadatu of Buluan would like to run as governor of the province of Maguindanao, in opposition to the reigning Ampatuan family in the province. His wife decided to file his COC (Certificate on Candidacy) to the COMELEC alongside with other female relatives and supporters. They also asked the media to accompany them in their convoy. The group requested the army but it was declined claiming their forces are depleted in the area and it’s the PNP’s area of responsibility. The PNP on the other hand, denied that they have knowledge on the said request.

On their way to the Comelec, on Barangay Salman, the group was held captive by armed men. They were asked to line up and were shot on the head. The buck how used to dug up the victims burial place is owned by the provincial government with the capital names of ZALDY AMPATUAN etched on it.

The Mangugudatu claims they are now holding four survivors and witnesses to this gruesome event.

I don’t know where this will lead. Rido or clan war is really up to avenging and taking lives from each clan. But in any rido, women and children are spared. But what happened goes beyond the cultural aspect of revenge and avenging death. It is about greed, warlordism and impunity.

The journalists and victims, which sadly are women were killed mercilessly. The journalists were killed not during crossfire, or by accident but was killed non senselessly by a political clan who maintains private armies to maintain their power.,

And it is very disgusting that this government is dillydallying on its decision. Ampatuan clan after all is one of the closest ally of the current administration. Ampatuan’s have delivered an over-all win to Team Unity, the administration’s slate last 2004 and 2007 election. And in return, the current administration has even approved of the clan’s reign and provided the private army of the family. Civilian volunteer’s organization (CVO), they call. And these private armies is being paid by the taxpayer’s money!

I read this article describing the Ampatuan’s reign in the province. Political dynasty at its finest! Imagine, they are ruling 7 municipalities even up to the point of making another one to accommodate their control on the area. The initial investigation showed that Mayor Andal Unsay Ampatuan’s as the prime suspect. If the government is really serious to solve this crisis, the military and police could have interrogated the suspects, but where are the Ampatuans? They are still sitting at their posh and luxurious mansions while the families of the 50+ victims are grieving, and could no longer identify the defiled bodies.

Hearing the news, appalled me. Again, Mindanao has been in the limelight. Not because of honor but because of warlodism and impunity that reigns over the area. It is appalling to look at the mansions of these politicians while the shanties, temporary houses of the poor majority of the population are everywhere. Evil has become so strong, that even brutal and inhumane acts are done in the name of power. Guns, goons, gold and god are with them, life has become useless.

Thanks to the Ampatuans, Mindanao, Maguindanao in particular is a deadly place. The peacebuilding efforts and even promoting the island has been watered down, what remained is the disturbing image of tortured and defiled bodies. It’s a nightmare. But I do hope in this time of crisis, we will use it as a springboard to move again and show our outrage. Let us not only remember their death but let us all unite to call for political clans to disarm and for the administration (and for coming officials) to stop cuddling political clans in return of votes every election.

For the victims,

Battered bodies, shattered dreams,
Lining the streets no end to the means
Crippled corpses, vandalized streets
degraded, penetrated beaten down
bought and sold
-- Bought and Sold, Wolfgang



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