The MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE

Whom the gods wish to destroy,

they first make mad.

There is world-wide outrage against the massacre in Maguindanao.  This is mainly because at least a dozen journalists, most of them non-Moro Filipinos, were included in the carnage.

Many Moros were wondering if the massacre included only Moros and no journalists, would there have been such an outrage? These thoughts are valid because in Maguindanao, massacres happen once in a while, and the world’s media never gave a hoot about them. The fact that the victims’ families and/or the military immediately spotted the heavy-duty backhoe and immediately assumed that it was used to dig the graves of the victim could only mean that this must have been an old M.O. (modus operandi) of the powers that be in Maguindanao. The Mangudadatus, it must be noted, were very close to the Ampatuans and were therefore part of the power clique in Maguindanao.

THE DOMINANT MAJORITY AGENDA

The Christian Filipinos and misguided Moros are busy painting the picture that the whole Muslim-dominated regions are full of lawlessness and violence and ruled by warring feudal lords-cum-politicians.The decades-old struggle of the Bangsa Moro for self-determination is thus reduced to nothing. The narrative that is gaining popularity is that the whole Moro conflict is nothing but the violence among warring Moro clans.

First of all, the Mangudadatus and the Ampatuans did not have a “long-standing feud”, as widely reported in the media. If anything, they had a long-standing alliance.

Second, there were no rapes and beheadings. The media are having a heyday in picturing Moros as “barbaric”. There was not enough time for the criminals to rape, unless they have some members who are priapic (those who have a perpetual hard-on). There were no beheading too because it is doubtful that some members were carrying kris and bolos instead of hand guns and long arms. Some of the victims heads must have been shattered by bullets from shotguns and other long arms shot point blank. Also, the backhoe crushed the cars with the victims’ bodies still inside.

What the criminals did were indeed barbaric. But there were no rapes or beheading. That would be medieval. The criminals were more “modern and high-tech”.

They also imply that only the military and national police can give the place a semblance of peace and order. That is why the administration’s presidential bet, a supposedly intelligent Harvard graduate (LlM) Gilbert Teodoro, says that his solution to the Moro problem is “to put in more troops.”

I used to have high regard for Harvard University. But I simply don’t see the intelligence in most Filipino politicians who took their Masters in Harvard. But then, even George Bush, Jr. took his Masters degree from Harvard.

MILITARY CONTROL

Can any politician in any part of the country have as much power as the Ampatuans without full military, police and presidential backing? Of course not.

Mindanao or Maguindanao does not operate in a political vacuum. Political power in Mindanao can only be obtained through presidential and military support.

The power of the senior Ampatuan has not been seen in Mindanao since the Marcos era. Then President Marcos gave 101% support to Ali Dimaporo of Lanao. Dimaporo had the full backing of Marcos and his military. The only group that could stand up, and stood up, against Dimaporo was the MNLF.

In 2001, President Arroyo gave the senior Ampatuan full backing. Even before that, the military was already supporting him. Through the Arroyo years, Ampatuan gained so much clout over the President. His relatives who were not elected were given juicy positions by Ms. Arroyo.

In 2007, the Filipinos witnessed the massive election cheating in Maguindanao, which made a total mockery of the election and legal processes.

In the massacre of the Mangudadatus, the hand of the military was obvious. First, the request by the Mangudadatus to the police and military for escort were turned down. Second, there was the presence of police among the killers. Third, a big part of the killers came from the CAFGUs or government-deputized paramilitary units.

The government’s reaction to the killings was to put in more troops, to which the media and the Filipino people applauded. The military is ALREADY in control of Maguindanao. Why are they sending more troops? To protect their puppets, the Ampatuans?

PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION

If the Arroyo administration truly wants justice to prevail, the first thing it should have done was to SUSPEND all the Ampatuans from their elective positions and put in caretaker governors and mayors. This way, the Ampatuans would be dis-empowered and could not intimidate would-be witnesses to the criminal investigation.

The top military and police commanders should have been immediately relieved of duty for their incompetence, if not collusion with the criminals.

MY THEORY

SCENARIO:

The Mangudadatus are suddenly stopped along the highway on their way to COMELEC. The perpetrators strafe the first few cars of the convoy with bullets, making sure all the occupants are dead. Half of the convoy are then escorted to a nearby isolated place and killed. They are thrown into the freshly dug huge hole and their cars crushed. The backhoe then covers the grave.

Meanwhile, military and police come to the crime scene along the highway. The military claims that the ambush has the “signature” of the MILF. When others look for the rest of the convoy, the military/police  say that they must have been kidnapped, which means that the Abu Sayyaf could be involved.

The Ampatuans, who are close allies and even kins of the Mangudadatus, come in and announce that they will do everything to capture the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.

The media cry to high heavens for justice. The Christian Filipinos clamor for all-out war against the MILF and Abu Sayyaf.

The President announces State of Emergency all over Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The ruling party and the Ampatuans can then do anything they want for Election 2010

Another scenario like this in another part of the country, then all will be set for Martial Law.

The above scenario was the plan.  Had it succeeded, it would have been a masterstroke. The MILF and/or Abu Sayyaf would be blamed for the mass murder; the military, police and the Ampatuans would have carte blanche to fortify themselves with tons of money to buy the latest firepower to pursue the imaginary culprits;  Martial Law would be declared all over ARMM and the set would be staged for the eventual martial rule all over the country. At the very least, the 2010 elections in the ARMM areas would be completely rigged.

But the planners forgot Murphy’s Law,. i.e.  if there’s anything that can go wrong, it will go wrong.

What the planners did not foresee was Mrs. Mangudadatu calling her husband the Vice Mayor via the cellphone. The wife told the husband that Datu Andal, Jr. a.k.a. as Unsay blocked their way and was asking them to go out of their vehicles.

With this single phone call, perhaps done in just one minute, the scenario goes to naught. There is now nothing that could convince the Mangudadatus that the Ampatuans were not the culprits.

In Gilbert Teodoro’s press con, he kept on alluding to the MILF. Even Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita also mentioned that the MILF once ambushed the Ampatuans.

Even if the government will continue with the scenario and will claim that the MILF or the Abu Sayyaf were the criminals, the Mangudadatus will not believe them. The media or the Christian Filipinos might believe that but certainly not the Buluan Vice Mayor and his kinsmen.

END OF THE AMPATUAN GLORY DAYS

The Ampatuans must now really be fearful for their lives and their fortune. Their patron and benefactress will soon be leaving Malacanang. And the whole Mangudadatu clan of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao will presumably not rest until vengeance is theirs.

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10 thoughts on “The MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE

  1. I’d like to think that I do understand you. But the belief system is beside the point. It is what it is. And it is an unfathomable act of evil done to another human being (journalist or not, Moro or not).

    Thank you for your entry. Its refreshing to hear your point of view.

  2. “SUSPEND all the Ampatuans from their elective positions and put in caretaker governors and mayors. The top military and police commanders should have been immediately relieved of duty for their incompetence, if not collusion with the criminals.”

    HEAR HEAR!!!

  3. I like everything you said except that you have hastily generalized the image of the Filipino Christian. Please be fair with making judgment about people so the bangsamoro war, which I claim to be legitimate and sincere, is and will be truly worthy of everyone’s support. It just shows that you are prejudiced of all Christians.

    I was raised a Christian but that does not mean that I have the same psychology and understanding as the Christian Filipino that you pictured in your article. I know and understand how you perceive and where that perception came from as a Muslim but to generalize is unreasonable.

  4. I have a question.

    When you say “The media cry to high heavens for justice. The Christian Filipinos clamor for all-out war against the MILF and Abu Sayyaf.”

    Do you mean that we shouldn’t do an all-out war against Abu Sayyaf?

  5. I think its not about christians or muslims, pro admin or not.. victims being raped & beheaeded or not. media people or muslims It’s about innocent people dying in the most brutal way. there are no reasons that can justify this kind of act. I can’t think of any way to give justice to the victi.

  6. To rayanami,

    Don’t put what is not there. That was simply the scenario.

    We have been calling for all-out war against Abu Sayyaf from the start. But who created the Abu Sayyaf in the first place? You can research official, including judicial, documents.

    Do you really believe that the military wants the Abu Sayyaf eliminated?

    To the others,

    This was not the first time that such barbaric killings happened. But when the victims are mere Moros, there are no investigations, hardly any media coverage and certainly no outcry from the public.

    I just hope that this is an eye opener to the Filipino public and even the whole world. People must realize that these things happen all the time in Maguindanao and elsewhere in the ARMM.

    Thank you all for your comments.

    1. I am merely trying to clarify what it is you meant by the statement.
      I was under the impression that it was wrong for us Christian Filipinos to clamor for an all-out war against Abu Sayyaf.
      You replied that it is not the case and that’s that, I thank you for your reply.

  7. i completely agree with you.

    weird as this may sound, i have a feeling that vice mayor esmael had knowledge that this was going to happen but nevertheless sent his wife and cousins and the others to push through with the filing of his COC.

    the way i see it, this was a win-win situation for him.
    1. if the entourage could successfully file his COC, then it would be a big slap on the face of the ampatuans as he would be THE man who dared go against the giants, as no one dared to contest them before.

    2. but if something bad happens to the convoy composing of women and journalists, then the vice mayor would automatically gain the edge due to public sentiments and outcry.

    i feel for him. but i don’t feel his decision. he literally fed them to the sharks.

    1. I doubt very much that the Vice Mayor nor anybody for that matter had any inkling that such a massacre would happen.

      First, the Mangudadatus are not nobodies. They hold various political positions in different municipalities as well as the governorship of the adjacent province of Sultan Kudarat. The governor’s driver was also in the convoy. They, too, maintain a private army.

      Second, one sister of Esmail is the incumbent Vice Mayor of the Mangudadatu municipality. She therefore carried political prestige/power in her own right.

      Third, two lawyers accompanied them. Criminal elements are usually afraid of lawyers

      Fourth, dozens of journalists are in the convoy.

      Fifth, they had notified the military and the police of their intention.

      Sixth, their going to the Comelec office was well publicized in the province.

      Seventh, in Islam, it is forbidden to harm women, children and the elderly in times of war or conflict.

      The Mangudadatus must have thought that they had all the bases covered.

      No politician in Mindanao or elsewhere would dare do anything untoward to such a company.

      Even the Ampatuans would not dare do such a thing if they were left on their own. They must have EXTERNAL support. We now know that the POLICE was with them. In fact, the killings were done in a POLICE CHECKPOINT. And we now know that the military refused to give protection because they claim that their troops are leaving Maguindanao for Samar. (How convenient! And what will they do in Samar?)

      The Ampatuans and their cohorts must have been convinced that the truth would not be known. As in the scenario above, they already planned to lay the blame on the MILF.

      Note that Sec. Dureza claimed that the helicopter carrying him and Ampatuan,Jr. were fired upon. Certainly the Ampatuans would not fire upon their own. And the Mangudadatus would not do such a reckless thing, especially since all eyes were on them. So who else would have the capacity to fire upon a helicopter gunship high above the ground?

      The first statements of Gibo, Ermita, and Puno mentioned the MILF. Then came Dureza’s claim. Were they laying the ground for a cover-up?

      Fortunately, Andal Ampatuan, Jr. dug his own grave further. In an ambush interview at the NBI, Andal, Jr. blurted out that he was innocent and accused the MILF. Andal Ampatuan, Jr. said something like, “Wala ako doon. Nasa municipio ako. Ang MILF ang gumawa niyan. Si Umbra Kato yan. Mga terorista sila!”

      Andal Jr’s outburst ended whatever hope for a cover-up. Well, it should.

      So, I think the Mangudadatus’ decision was well calculated. Unfortunately, they did not realize that they were dealing with powerful madmen — men and women mad for power.

      Gaining a governorship, or even a presidency, could never compensate for the loss of the lives of one’s loved ones.

      Losing one’s loved ones could never be a WIN situation. Gaining a governorship, or even a presidency, could never compensate for the loss of the lives of one’s loved ones.

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