PRESS STATEMENT                                                                        31 March 2010

The dismissal of the rebellion charge against the suspects in the gruesome massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao is the Gloria government’s own doing.

It knows that was bound to happen. It knows its legal maneuver will eventually lead to the exoneration of government officials and state security forces involved in the carnage.

As soon as the Department of Justice lodged the rebellion charge last year, we have warned of its irreparable consequences to our quest for justice for the 57 victims, two of whom are human rights lawyers.

The charge was not only erroneous; it was also maliciously slanted towards a specific political end.   It justified the controversial declaration of martial law in Maguindanao.  It also glorified as political offense what was a purely bestial, criminal act by the suspects.

Rebellion is difficult to prove.  In fact, such charge against political prisoners and other victims of state persecution are almost always dismissed outright due to the difficulty of the prosecution to prove its elements.

Of course, government prosecutors already know this.  Yet, they went on to file the charge anyway to satisfy the wishes of those in Malacanang.

It is clear whose interest this will serve.  In the first place, the suspects are the chief allies of the President in that part Mindanao.  It need not stressing their pivotal role in delivering votes for her and her clique in the past two national elections and the one this coming May.

The repercussions of the dismissal will batter not only the murder charges filed by the families of the victims against the suspects, but also the foundation of our so-called democracy.  Already, it gives the suspects something to celebrate about. Later, it will provide vigilantes and government hatchetmen another inspiration in their chores of cleaning up any opposition to ruling lords.

Under the blanket of impunity, political killings will continue regardless of who wins the elections.ÿ


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