Duterte is the present-day national “Ampatuan” – Pamalakaya
Manila, Philippines – As the primary suspects to the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre from the powerful and influential Ampatuan clan are found guilty by the court, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) expressed its salutations to the families of the victims who stood firm in pursuit of justice.
“We laud the victims’ families, media community, the people’s movement and their supporters for their resolute struggle for justice opposite a powerful and influential traditional politician, landlord-warlord clan of Maguindanao,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson and former Anakpawis lawmaker Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a press statement.
He added that the “the long delay of the guilty verdict is a manifestation of an exclusive justice and political system, where the powerful and influential could carry out this kind of atrocity and even the reprisal against witnesses and victims’ families.”
Moreover, the fisherfolk leader pointed out that though the verdict is favorable to the victims, this does not put an end to the urgency of the demand for political and judicial reforms, where marginalized sectors or the voiceless and powerless always fall as victims of the oppressive and exploitative sections of our society.
“Many more Ampatuans would rise and more will be victimized because of the very political and economic system, where powerful and influential families who are usually big landlords, oligarchs, bureaucrat capitalists or corrupt traditional politicians and fascists, remain unaccountable for their crimes against the people,” he elaborated.
He inferred that the very government institution promotes warlordism or violent attacks against poor sectors who assert their democratic rights against oppression and exploitation.
“The patriarch Ampatuan was a local warlord of Maguindanao, who colluded with the authoritarian Marcos dictatorship and allied with the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. His clan enjoyed the government protection, amid their abuses against opposition in the local politics and his constituents. He is the exact local version of the present Duterte regime,” he said.
Hicap said that akin to Ampatuan, Duterte is subservient to foreign powers such as the United States and China, and parallel to his anti-people programs and policies, are his violent repression of the people’s resistance, victimizing majorly the peasant sector in the country.
“Peasants who are demanding for genuine agrarian reform to end the centuries-old problem of landlessness, are usual victims of the Duterte regime, who is now institutionalizing repression via his various issuances,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued the Executive Order 70 or the whole-of-nation approach to counter-insurgency and formed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC); the Memorandum Order 32 or the order to attack activists in Negros, Samar and Bicol; the martial law declaration in Mindanao; and his counter-insurgency program Oplans Kapayapaan and Kapanatagan.
“While the Ampatuan clan massacred 58 victims, Duterte is ruling with massacres, mass killings, extra-judicial killings, aerial bombings and other abuses against peasants and activists. He is the national warlord oppressing and exploiting the people,” he branded.
As of middle of this year, out of the total 266 victims of extra-judicial killings under Duterte’s watch, a majority 216 were peasants, according to the human rights group Karapatan. Peasant communities are common sites of militarization and aerial bombings, victimizing more than 400,000 people. He also transformed the Negros island into a killing field, where mass killings were carried out in December last year and March this year, victimizing 20 peasants and activists.
“The Filipino people has the legacy of fighting for social justice, freedom and democracy. We demonstrated that against the Marcos dictatorship, and at the latest against the Ampatuans. We seriously hope that this engender to the broader struggle such as the vigor of the fight for justice for the victims of Maguindanao massacre, to be the same as the for the victims of Duterte, who is a criminal against humanity,” he ended. ###