On November 23, 2009, 58 people were murdered by a local warlord from Maguindanao in the worst case of election violence in Philippine history. Police have charged members of members of the powerful and wealthy Ampatuan clan for the murder of the 58, who were in a convoy to the local election office to file the candidacy papers of a challenger to the incumbent political family.
Among the victims were 32 journalists, mostly from Central Mindanao. The incident marks the largest number of journalists killed in a single incident in the world, making the Philippines the most dangerous place for journalists in 2009. A year later, hope still flickers for the families of the victims, but the path to justice has been unbearably slow.
Journalists, media workers, and activists march to Mendiola to demand justice for colleagues slain in the Maguindanao Massacre. Read the story.
[autoviewer id=journalists-rally width=640 height=480] ON the eve of the observance of International Human Rights Day (December 10), journalists and media workers took to the streets in Mendiola, a stone’s throw from the seat of political power that is Malacanang Palace, in rage and grief. Their common call: Justice for the 57 victims of the November [...]
A report by the fact-finding team organized by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) for the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) on the killing of at least 30 journalists/media practitioners in the Maguindanao massacre.
The team was composed of representatives from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Davao-based news organization MindaNews, the PCIJ, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the FFFJ.
Please be warned of the graphic nature of these photographs. All photos were taken from the Commission on Human Rights.
THERE WERE 30 and not just 27 reporters and media workers who were killed in a manner brutal beyond description in Maguindanao, last Monday November 23.
The 30 media workers comprise more than half of the 57 confirmed casualties of what is now known as the Maguindanao Massacre, according to a list compiled and verified by the Humanitarian and Fact-Finding Mission of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), a network of independent media organizations, including the PCIJ.
THE BODY count of the Maguindanao Massacre has gone up each of the past five days. The count is now at 57, with authorities continuing to sift through the blood-soaked dirt just outside the town of Shariff Aguak. Thirty of the victims were journalists and at least twenty-two were women. The women were raped and their genitals shot at close range.
Expect the numbers to change in the coming days. What will likely not change is the identity of the accused mastermind of the killings: a smug, round-faced blip of a man named Andal Ampatuan Jr., a local mayor and the son of a powerful political patriarch who is allied with no less than the president of the Philippines.
THERE was a time my colleagues at the PCIJ threatened to print shirts that said “I am not JJ” in front and “Neither is she my friend” at the back.
The (hopefully) feigned betrayal stemmed from the stories I was writing at the time about the Ampatuan clan, how its members wielded power, and the sorry state of public education in the province of Maguindanao.
SOLVING MURDERS are the territory of the police, but when the victim is a government graft and corruption investigator who was apparently killed in connection with his job, then it’s safe to assume his former colleagues would be keen to monitor the investigation of his case.
I AM a warlord’s daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, relative, and friend. On my bloodline I blame the deaths of hundreds of men in Abra. But I am powerless to undo what members of my clan have wrought.
Many times I have cursed my forefathers for the tragedy of living in a place that is beautiful but awash in blood, that has nothing to offer but devastation, depression, and death. Even I cannot bear living in the land ruled by kith and kin, in the province built by years of my family members’ struggles to overpower each other.