The Filipino people must never allow the Ampatuan warlords to escape justice!

Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao

Four months after the brutal massacre of media workers and civilians on Nov. 23 last year, the reactionary Arroyo government and its bourgeois courts failed to punish the perpetrators of the mass murder in Maguindanao. Justice is still denied from the families, co-workers, friends and supporters of the victim, haplessly placed in the perpetual loop of waiting for any semblance of retribution against the masterminds of such heinous act.

The US-Arroyo government in fact has done nothing except for the bravado display during the so-called turn-over of main suspect Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and placing the province of Maguindanao under a state of emergency, and, subsequently, Martial Law in Maguindanao.

The Ampatuan warlords remain unpunished. Worse, despite Ampatuan Jr.'s detention, their tentacles of power is still very much in command in Maguindanao politics, as majority of the politicians in that province still report to them for advice, including some military and PNP officials. The Ampatuan private army remains operational and continues to sow terror in the area.

The recent trial of the Ampatuan warlords in a GRP court virtually cleared them of the charge of rebellion, because all and sunder knew that there was no rebellion to speak of in the first place, but cold-blooded mass murder. This obviously is a costly delay in the exaction of punishment against the Ampatuans who are, beyond doubt, guilty of orchestrating the Maguindanao massacre, freely allowing them the opportunity to buy time and turn every weakness, loophole, and tricks in the bourgeois law to their advantage.

Apparently, the Arroyo government is, at most, feeble in its intent to punish the Ampatuan warlords, which may dangerously result in their possible exoneration. Worse, this sets a precedent that mass murderers or warlords, as long as closely allied with the one in power, could get away with crime, no matter how atrocious that crime may be. This would also imply that media and activist killings will continue unabated, and with impunity.

Despite its promise, the reactionary Arroyo government is unwilling to tear down warlords and its private armies in the country, because it greatly relies upon them to keep itself in power. This, inspite of the pronouncement of its commission that it had dismantled a number of private armies nationwide. Whether Arroyo remains in power or not, these warlords will continue to reign and operate, as the ruling class's ability to rule and exploit majority of Filipinos hinges on them.

Apart from the Ampatuans, the role of the AFP's 6th Infantry Division and the PNP in the single most brazen massacre in the country's recent history still escapes serious scrutiny and prosecution despite their obvious complicity, especially in arming, training and coddling the very perpetrators of the crime and for condoning the same in the commission such a dastardly act.

With the nation's attention captured by the upcoming national elections, the Ampatuan case might slip through and escape public vigilance and rage. Despite the detention of several heads of the Ampatuan clan, these criminals still call the shots in the electoral contest in Mindanao and will still deliver the bargaining vote for administration candidates. This we must vehemently expose and oppose!

The National Democratic Front in Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao) calls on the people to intensify their vigilance and strongly demand that the Ampatuan warlords be punished posthaste for justice to truly side with the victims, their families, and the people.

We must express our strongest opposition in the 2010 polls against such politicians as the Ampatuan warlords, including known druglords and personalities involved with criminal syndicates, by refusing to vote for them. Down with these warlord-politicians who continue to terrorize the people by perpetrating heinous acts with impunity!