Bill for Mendiola Massacre Victims Sought
Party-list Anakpawis to
revive 1987 massacre case
years ago last week in Mendiola at the approach of the presidential palace,
Marines and police opened fire at some 30,000 peasant protesters. After the
smoke cleared, 13 of the marchers lay dead. Today, organizers of that tragic
rally want the massacre case reopened for justice and a bill filed in Congress
for the victims’ indemnification.
Gerry Albert Corpuz
bodies sprawled on Mendiola after the massacre
by Bong Maglaqui
Rafael Mariano, 47, one of the survivors of Mendiola Massacre on Jan.22, 1987
wants to re-open the case for truth and justice sake.
The chairperson of the militant peasant alliance Kilusang Magbubukid ng
Pilipinas (KMP-Peasant Movement of the Philippines), president and No.2 nominee
of Anakpawis (toiling masses) political party last week said contrary to state
view that it was a closed book, the death of his 13 farmer-comrades remains a
primary concern in the peasant movement in the country.
"It is not a closed book,” Mariano stressed. “The dark memories and
gory injustice of Mendiola Massacre are still vivid as they are 17 years ago.
There's no substitute for justice and our party will push for the re-opening of
the case come what may.
who was 30 at the time of the massacre, recounted that the re-opening of the
case was brought to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's attention on her first
day of office on Jan. 22, 2001 or two days after People Power II uprising ousted
ex-President Joseph Estrada from power and made her president.
KMP was in the frontline of the oust-Estrada campaign.
"But our justice-seeking peasants were treated by Arroyo to a national
political playtime. She did nothing to correct this historical injustice to
Filipino farmers," he said.
Anakpawis hopes to win three seats in the May 10 elections under the party list
system. Mariano said if his party list succeeds in bringing in their
representatives to Congress, one of its priorities is to task Congress to
re-open the controversial Mendiola Massacre case.
"If the truth shall set us free, then the truth about the Mendiola Massacre
and the culpability of all those involved in the carnage must be exposed to the
smallest detail," he added.
On that day 17 years ago, members of the Philippines Marines and Western Police
District (WPD) fired shots at thousands of protesting farm workers and peasants
agitating for genuine land reform as promised to them by then President Corazon
Aquino. Joined by 30,000 farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog
regions, the Mendiola rally was organized by KMP.
Mariano said Anakpawis strongly considers the proposal of KMP for Congress to
enact a law that would compensate the victims of Mendiola Massacre. He said the
bill would be parallel to House Bill 4535 sponsored by Bayan Muna party list
Rep. Satur Ocampo that sought indemnification of some10,000 human rights victims
during Martial Law.
"The state-perpetrated carnage in Mendiola has its own place in history,”
Mariano added. “The compensation law seeks to indemnify the victims, expose
state violence against the peasantry and above all pursue justice for Filipino
Anakpawis said it would push the Mendiola Massacre compensation measure as
urgent and it would lobby in Congress for the recognition of the martyrdom and
gallantry displayed by peasant activists for the genuine land reform.
Before the peasants could reach Malacañang Palace, the Marines and police shot
and killed 13 peasants, wounded 105 and arrested 15 of Mariano's colleagues in
movement. "We filed a lawsuit for reparations of P 250,000 per family of
each murdered victim and P 50,000 for each person wounded in the massacre but
this plea for indemnification was rejected by Mrs. Aquino and her
generals," Mariano recalled.
"Today, the generals responsible for the death of 13 peasant activists
remain very much alive in the political scene, some of them are even coddled by
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and hold several high positions in the
bureaucracy," he added.
Those who died in Mendiola 17 years ago and honored by peers as martyrs are:
Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao,
Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez,
Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul. The
relatives of 13 victims are organized under the Kilusang Enero 22 (KE 22), which
was formed on March 22, 1994.
The KMP said the victims' families and survivors of Mendiola Massacre named
former President then Secretary of National Defense Fidel Ramos, former AFP
Chief of Staff Gen. Renato de Villa, former WPD Supt. B/Gen. Alfredo Lim, then
Marine chief now reelectionist Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, B/Gen. Brigido Paredes, Col.
Edgar de la Torre and Col. Romero Monfort of the defunct Capcom and former PNP
Chief Cesar Nazareno in the P 6.5 million peso law suit.
On May 31,1988 Judge Edilberto Sandoval of Branch 9 of the Manila Regional Trial
Court dismissed the lawsuit against the Aquino administration and on Aug. 8 that
year, the Supreme court acquitted the government, citing the state’s immunity
GMA: Massacre Queen
"Even President Arroyo has blood debts to the Filipino peasantry, said
Danilo Ramos, KMP’s secretary general. “She is the ultimate Massacre Queen
of the Millennium for offering peasants' lives to the altar of state-sponsored
who hails from Bulacan and is himself another survivor of Mendiola Massacre,
said President Arroyo was also guilty of violating the peasants right to land
and life of dignity.
the class enemy of the peasantry and her regime, their perennial
tormentor," Ramos added.
The peasant leader said he is worried about the deployment of over 2,000
military troops in Mindoro Occidental. He said the government is planning to
attack peasant communities in the
province in pursuit of what government labeled as “enemies of the state."
As of Jan. 21, the KMP said more than 100 farmers and Mangyan folks were
forcibly evacuated in Barangay Harrison in Paluan town due to intense military
operations in Mindoro Occidental. Bulatlat.com
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