While the Arroyo government is not directly to blame for the alleged Ampatuan massacre certainly it is so indirectly. The government both supported the clan rule and also the arming of what are in effect private Ampatuan militia. The government obviously looked the other way when the clan used strong arm tactics not only against rebels but also against any people who mounted any opposition to their rule. The ICG is not that far off the mark. This is from ABS-CBN.
ICG ‘stretching logic’ in report, says Palace
By Aytch S. de la Cruz
Malacañang yesterday described as a “stretch of logic” the report of the Brussels-based Inter-national Crisis Group (ICG) blaming President Arroyo’s government’s political pat-ronage of the Ampatuan clan for the massacre of 57 individuals in Maguindanao last Nov. 23.
The ICG report said Arroyo’s patronage of the clan allowed the Ampatuans to amass great wealth and unchecked powers, including the possession of a private arsenal with mortars, rocket launchers and state-of-the-art assault rifles.
Presidential spokesman Gary Olivar yesterday described claims by the ICG of the Arroyo adminis-tration engen-dering a climate of impunity as merely “stretching logic” with no evidential proof for it.
The ICG came out the other day with a policy report entitled “Philippines: After the Maguindanao Massacre” denouncing the culture of impunity in Maguindanao and called on the government to bring all the perpetrators to justice, particularly those belonging to the Ampatuan clan, whose members are suspected of masterminding the gruesome mass murder of mostly women and journalists.
The main suspect, Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. has been detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila and faces multiple charges of murder. Several other Ampatuans were arrested with the imposition of martial law.
ICG pointed out that the Ampatuans’ “exercise of absolute authority” was made possible not only by political patronage from Manila but also by laws and regulations permitting the arming and private funding of civilian auxiliaries to the army and police.
.....Lawyer Gwendolyn Pimentel, daughter of Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., said the self-confessed hit man of the Ampatuans should be made to tell all on what he knows on the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre to render justice to the victims and make the culprits pay for their heinous crimes.
Pimentel, a former solicitor in the Office of the Solicitor General and a Child Rights Advocate, said she was shocked and outraged as fellow Filipinos upon hearing the revelation of Abdul (not his real name), an alleged professional assassin in the employ of the Ampatuans who executed hundreds of persons upon orders of his masters.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN Channel 2, Abdul recounted that he was only l2 when he was recruited by the Ampatuans and trained on weaponry and combat tactics to undertake the assassination of their political enemies and other individuals.
He said that he and 30 other young boys were brought to the mountains of Upi, Maguindanao where they underwent training from foreign and local experts.