The Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) accuses the Arroyo government of slowly but treacherously laying the grounds for the eventual exoneration of the butchers—particularly the masterminds—of the atrocious November 23 Ampatuan Massacre.
Proclamation No. 1959 declaring the province of Maguindanao under a state of Martial Law and the filing of rebellion charges against the members of the Ampatuan clan and its supporters are, indeed, calculated and pre-emptive plans by the Arroyo administration for a cover-up to also free the regime, including several of its generals, of any culpability in the rise of ruthless warlords, like the Ampatuans of Maguindanao.
Specifically, it will not be surprising that in the coming days, the Ampatuan camp will exploit the government’s deceitful scheme by seeking the absorption of the multiple murder charges in the rebellion charge. Considering the gravely flawed factual basis cited to justify Proclamation No. 1959, the difficulty of proving the crime of rebellion, then, is almost certain. And, with it follows the eventual acquittal of the accused, particularly the suspected masterminds, who are all members of the Ampatuan clan.
Indeed, the declaration of Martial Law and the subsequent filing of rebellion charges against the perpetrators are not meant to give justice to the 64 innocent lives lost in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, including two of our bravest members, Atty. Concepcion “Connie” Jayme-Brizuela (who was supposed to celebrate her 56th birthday today, December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception ) and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo-Ayon.
The events in the past days showed that Arroyo government is not at all serious in dismantling the private armies, particularly that of its “close friends”, the Ampatuans—undoubtedly among the keepers of its darkest secrets, including its questionable hold to power.
UPLM warns that the moves by the Arroyo government to cover-up and shelter its “close friends” will even perpetuate even more the culture of impunity, nurtured by the Arroyo government and resulted to the enforced disappearance of some 204 individuals and extra-judicial killings of some 1,118 persons, including activists, journalists, churchpeople, lawyers, etc.
UPLM calls on the Filipino people to oppose and resist the Arroyo government’s use and imposition of more fascistic acts, like the declaration of Martial Law. UPLM likewise calls on the people to expose, resist and oppose all moves that subverts the search and call for justice, not only for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre, but also for all the victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo regime.
NEVER AGAIN! NEVER AGAIN! NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!!
END CULTURE OF IMPUNITY NOW!!!
Atty. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate
UPLM Secretary General