One of the most chilling lines I have ever read can be found in the testimony of a witness to the Ampatuan Massacre of 57 people last year, in which the relatives of a rival politician were killed, along with 30 or so members of the press whose only crime was that they were there.

From the Philippine Inquirer:

 At the ambush site on November 23 last year, Ampatuan Jr. phoned his father and told them that their political enemy’s convoy was there…

“Alam mo na ang gagawin mo. Patayin mo na sila. Itira mo ang media (You know what to do. Kill them. Spare the media),” the father said.

“Hindi. Lubus-lubusin na natin. Makakapagsalita pa kundi natin uubusin (No. Let’s go all the way. They will be able to speak if we don’t finish all of them),” the son said.

So why did the Ampatuan clan think they could get away with murder? Some suspect that their connection with then President Arroyo made them think they were above the law. Indeed, the delay in prosecuting the murders meant that witnesses could be intimidated into silence or even murdered.

Centerlaw Philippines, which assists families of 14 of the massacre victims, laid the blame for Upham’s death on acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for not supposedly giving any protection to the witness.

Yes, no protection for witnesses by the government in a major murder trial? What’s wrong with this picture.

And the release in April 2010 of other family members who may have been in on the conspiracy also made some hint at Arroyo trying to obstruct justice, as did the attempt to have them charged with rebellion rather than murder.

But now, there is a new President, whose own father was a victim of a political murder. Will he be able to clean house? Especially since ex President Arroyo is now seated in Congress and can obstruct attempts to investigate the many scandals in her administration.

So I was happy to read that StrategyPage has some good news about the Philippines:

In power only two months, the new government has been keeping its promise to go after corruption. An average of one indictment a week is brought against corrupt officials or major tax evaders.

So a lot of us are hoping that the government will actually let justice be served. You see, despite the US interfering with our sovereignty to promote birth control  in our government clinics and a westernized “sex education” in our schools, insisting that the reason for poverty in the Philippines is too many poor children, the dirty little secret is that corruption is the reason for local poverty, because corruption stops many businesses from investing here.

From Robert Kingley’s the Arroyo Corruption Wiki:..

1. NBN ZTE Scandal

2. Millions of bribe money to Congressmen and Governors (October 2007)

3. Cheating in 2004 Elections (Hello Garci)

4. Joc Joc Bolante Case (Fertilizer Scam, P728 Million)

5. Jose Pidal Bank Account (Unexplained Wealth, P200 Million)

6. Nani Perez Power Plant Deal ($2 Million)

7. Use of Road User’s Tax for Campaigning

8. Billion Peso Macapagal Boulevard (Overprice of P532 Million)

9. Juetengate (Illegal Numbers game kickbacks)

10. Extra Judicial Killings

11. Arroyo Moneys in Germany (Exposed by Senator Cayetano)

12. General Garcia and Other Military Men

13. Billion Peso Poll Automation contract (P1.3 Billion)

14. Northrail Project($503 Million)

15. Maguindanao Results of 2007 Elections (Zubiri, Bedol)

16. NAIA-3

17. Venable Contract (Norberto Gonzales)

18. Swine Scam

19. P432-million fertilizer deal in 2003

So one hopes that President Aquino, aka PNoy, will be aggressive at prosecuting the wrongdoers who sap the economy in this country, forcing our hardest workers to go overseas for jobs.

And one hopes that a vigorous prosecution of the Ampatuan murderers of so many journalists will enable the government to prosecute not only the hit men but the politicians behind the murders of their rivals or of the reporters who blow the whistle on their corruption.

Our family has a stake in one case, and we’re still awaiting justice four years later.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.  She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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