November 23, 2010
IN COMMEMORATION OF THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE
In commemoration of the first year anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) joins the nation and the international community in the call for justice to the victims of the brutal massacre which claimed the lives of 57 victims. Two feisty members of the NUPL, Attys. Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo were among those who were killed on November 23, 2009.
In a press statement, the NUPL, speaking through its Secretary-General, Atty. Edre U. Olalia, called for an end to the climate of impunity that has blanketed the country, making the Philippines one of the most dangerous places for journalists and lawyers.
“There should be an end to the rampant killing of journalists, social activists and even lawyers in the country. The Maguindanao Massacre is a concrete example of the state of human rights in the country today where extrajudicial killings have been a recurrent nightmare and an institutionalized manner of quelling dissent and the search for truth and change,” Olalia stated.
“To be unable to put a stop to the bloody record of the administration of Gloria Arroyo, deny justice to the victims, and fail to institute decisive measures against state-sanctioned paramilitary groups would be tantamount to making the present administration of Noynoy Aquino complicit in this outrage,” Olalia added..
“Justice must be immediately accorded to the families of the victims in this gruesome and brazen killing of very vulnerable community-based journalists and other innocent civilians.”
The NUPL further noted that despite the national and international uproar, most of the perpetrators remain at large and the suspected masterminds – members of the Ampatuan clan – despite being in jail, apparently continue to enjoy the luxuries of comfort, influence and political accommodation.
The peoples’ lawyers group likewise called for the speedy disposition of the case and for the court to thwart the dilatory tactics being employed by the Ampatuans It supports the widespread clamor to open the court proceedings to public scrutiny under certain reasonable safeguards.
“Let us all remember and we must not forget. Let us all be vigilant in our quest for justice and our struggle to put an end to rampant human rights violations which continue to plague us ,” Olalia further stated, citing an alarming rise of incidents of extrajudicial killings of members of militant organizations under the Aquino administration and its wishy-washy rhetorics.
Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL secretary-general
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