When a Grotesque Massacre Awakened a Whole Nation
Perhaps it would take a monstrous natural disaster or a grotesque manmade carnage to awaken a whole nation. The unforgettable super typhoon Ondoy that submerged the whole of Metro Manila and claimed the lives of hundreds of people brought a handful of lessons to Filipinos. On the other hand, a monstrous massacre that took the lives of 64 innocent people, mostly women and journalists, awakened the whole Filipino nation to a bitter reality—absolute political power kills absolutely.
Call it massacre or genocide, but this tragic incident that implicated a powerful political clan in Maguindanao—the Ampatuans—shows the kind of dirty, murderous politics we have in this country. Indeed, the Maguindanao massacre brought a nation back to life and consciousness.
It is interesting yet lamentable to observe that the last few days of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in power are marked by an ongoing economic crisis, catastrophic natural disasters, a manmade slaughter, and more political violence to come. Perhaps these incidents are sending us a clear warning or a message—respect man’s freedom and rights or else the nation will collapse.
Since the Ampatuans are known close political allies of the sitting President, the people, outraged and disgusted, have sent their ultimate message to the government—bring the monsters to justice and carryout a crackdown on lawlessness and warlords in Mindanao.
People in blogosphere and social network groups have also joined the public outrage over this gruesome mass murder in Maguindanao. A number of Facebook groups were created, denouncing and condemning this shocking slaughter that claimed the lives of dozens of people. These Facebook groups include, “We Condemn the Maguindanao Massacre,” “Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims,” “Justice for Maguindanao Massacre, Philippines,” and “We Condemn the Maguindanao Massacre! Justice for all Victims.” These groups are one in denouncing this atrocity and calling on the government to act promptly in order to bring the criminals to justice.
A Facebook user named Grace Castaniaga expresses her disgust over this incident. “I am from Tacurong City…this is the very reason why I do not want to live there…it’s been happening since I was a kid and still is now that I am an adult….I am strongly considering now to live in Singapore where crime rate is very low…my dream for Philippines to have true peace…” she said.
Agnes Remonte, another Facebook user, says: “Let’s pray for justice. PGMA, if you’re even human at all, redeem yourself and serve justice where it should be serve. Don’t just sympathize, leche! It only shows the deplorable level of greed and corruption of the government.”
Another Facebook user, Danny N. Arangale, says: “Do you know how the GMA administration will whitewash the case in the future? That guy will suddenly disappear from prison and it will appear that he has escaped. The fall guys will be the guys who will take the blame. Ampatuan will again return to Mindanao to intimidate people to vote for GMA dogs.”
Jabo Bataclan agrees, saying, “Fuck the palace and all its damned minions if they let this through.”
Freda Veluz also says: “I swear, if the government lets the ampatuans get away with this, i will lose all hope for this country. Ang lakas ng loob nila dahil alam nilang may utang na loob si GMA sa kanila. To the Ampatuans: YOU ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW. To GMA: YOU ARE NOT THE LAW.
Marue Janine Galang expresses her indignation in all caps: “BULLSHIT ANG GOBYERNO. BAKIT NYO PA KMI PABOBOTOHIN NG GUSTO NAMIN KUNG DADAYAIN NIO LANG. BAKIT PA KAYO MAGDDEKLARA NG ARAW S KANILA KUNG WLA NAMAN KYONG GNGWA. HINDI PA BA SAPAT ANG PAGNANAKAW NIO NG PERA NA DAPAT MGA MHIHIRAP ANG NAKIKINABANG!! PUMATAY PA KYO NG TAONG WLANG NAIS KUNDI PANTAY NA LABAN!!! IKAW GLORIA!”
Cicile Ng Esguerra also says: “I’m going to pray that the murderers and the mastermind(s) of this brutality will be bothered by their conscience until the day they die. They may have the power and wealth here on earth, but these are all temporary….in a few years they will suffer from the heat reserved for them in HELL!”
A number of bloggers also joined this public outrage. Echosan Na states the following on his blog: “Aking kinokondena ang kung sino mang nag-utos na isagawa ang hindi makataong massacre sa Maguindanao. Hindi na lamang ito isyu ng dalawang magkabanggang pamilya sa politika. Hindi na lamang ito isyu ng mga personal na alitan. Hindi lamang ito isyu ng mga Mangudadatu at Ampatuan. Hindi na lamang ito isyu ng Maguindanao. Salamin ito ng bulok at nakakadiring sistema ng politika sa bansa.”
Wawam! After Hours also expressed this condemnation by posting ghastly photos on the incident online. The blog says, “We are publishing photos of the maguindanao massacre here to remind ourselves of what evil in men can do to others and why we should all make a stand and demand that our government find justice for the victims swiftly and comprehensively.”
Ganda Ever So Much also posts a poignant message for her readers: “Today is a sad day for Mindanao. At least 21 people, including 13 women, lay dead—some of them beheaded and others raped and mutilated, authorities said. The victims were in the group that included some 20 other women supporters, accompanied by over 30 journalists. They were tasked by Vice Mayor Ishmael “Toto” Mangundadatu to file his certificate of candidacy as governor of Maguindanao in the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in Shariff Aguak town when the massacre happened on Monday. His wife, Genalyn and two sisters, Eden and Farina were among the dead. One of the media personalities who was with the group was Bong Reblando. He was a correspondent for the Manila Bulletin. He is my friend. I grieve not only for Bong and the rest of the victims and their families. I grieve for Mindanao. I grieve for the Philippines. Tama na. Sobra na. Dismantle all private armies.”
Most people in the virtual world have expressed not only their indignation over this manmade mass murder, but also their mounting distrust in the Arroyo government. In fact a lot of people blame the President for cuddling murderous political clans like the Ampatuans. There’s no doubt that this bloody incident will make or break Arroyo’s chances of maintaining the status quo in the country through her political bets.