Rights groups slams Agra’s decision as “a massacre of justice”

by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) Thursday, Apr. 22, 2010 at 5:26 AM
epccla02@yahoo.com 818-749-0272

Rights groups slams Agra’s decision as “a massacre of justice”

April 21, 2010

April 19, 2010

Reference : Bishop Felixberto Calang, convenor. 0918-929-4244

Rights groups slams Agra’s decision as “a massacre of justice”

Los Angeles--Rights groups slams Agra’s decision as “a massacre of justice” This was the statement of the human rights watchdog Barug Katungod Mindanao after Agra moved last Friday to drop the murder charges against the Ampatuan cousins.

Bishop Felixberto Calang, chairperson of Barug Katungod Mindanao, said Agra’s decision “shatters any hope of justice for the families, and also for the human rights advocates in Mindanao, the country and even the international community that have condemned the killing since day one.”

“This is like the massacre happening over again. This time it’s a massacre of justice” says Calang.

Calang also said the decision has further enraged the families and the public against the Arroyo administration for promoting the culture of impunity by letting the Ampatuans on the loose. “This continues the rule of warlords and militarism that mocks our democracy and our justice system,” Calang said.

Barug Katungod could suspects that the Arroyo administration is setting free Zaldy Ampatuan, the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, to cater to the administration’s need for delivery of votes for Arroyo’s wards in the May 2010 elections.

“The Ampatuan machinery for fraud and terrorism is very much intact. It was not disbanded, in fact it was preserved, by Arroyo’s Martial Law declaration in Maguindanao province. The shamelessness is obviously brought about by a desperate need for vote padding and intimidation in favor of the Ampatuans and Arroyo’s bets in various elective positions,” Calang said.

Calang said that human rights groups will support private prosecutors in the assertion of legal recourses to bring the Ampatuan criminals to face the law.

“Even as the Ampatuans will be absolved by this equally-criminal Arroyo government, both of them will surely be respondents of class suits that are clearly to be lodged in the future. Throughout history, dictators and mass murderers are usually brought to trial when they are no longer in power. This is certain to be the fate of the Ampatuans and the Arroyo government,” Calang said.

He said that protests will spill over cities in Mindanao to show “outrage over a decision that seeks to set free the evil doers from accountability of their gruesome crimes.”

He exhorted that unity is needed as “we are facing yet bigger forces that want to shatter our cries for justice, violate the memories of the victims and exacerbate the pain of their families.”

Barug Katungod Mindanao is a consortium of human rights and peace groups in Mindanao including InPeace Mindanao, Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao, Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (Samin), and is supported by the European Commission under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) program.