Migrante International today called for the immediate lifting of martial law in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato City, saying that the move betrays how President Arroyo is less concerned with the dispensation of justice for the Ampatuan massacre victims than with consolidating her power through military rule.
“We have received messages of concern from OFWs around the world, who think that Arroyo’s game plan is to use the situation in Maguindanao to spread martial law across the country. This is of course something that will be opposed by freedom-loving Filipinos all over the world,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
The group believes that the military and police forces do not have the moral authority to be accorded blanket authority over the said provinces, given that the investigation shows their culpability in the massacre. Recently, weapons owned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were dug up near the Ampatuan’s mansion. Several military and police auxiliary forces are under investigation.
“In the first place, the Ampatuan massacre happened precisely because the AFP and PNP allowed itself to be used by warlords in executing brutal crimes against the people. Meanwhile, Arroyo has given its political allies, the Ampatuans, free reign to terrorize the province for the longest time. How can we now believe her claim that martial law is being declared for the sake of law and order?
“This is the height of insensitivity to the victims of the massacre, and the height of Arroyo’s bloodthirsty quest for power,” said Martinez.
He added that, “The reason that ‘local judicial system and other government mechanisms in the province are not functioning,’ as stated in the martial law declaration, is because these are paralyzed by fear of the prevailing power of the gun. Martial law will only reinforce this power, and multiply the fear,” said Martinez.
Migrante International calls for the resumption of civilian authority in Maguindanao. The group also said that OFWs will remain vigilant against the tyranny and culture of impunity under the Arroyo government.
Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09217229740
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994