Timeline for the Maguindanao Massacre

Timeline for the case development of the Maguindanao Massacre

Nov. 23 – While on their way to file a certificate of candidacy on behalf of Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, his wife and sisters, together with journalists and lawyers were shot and mutilated by a group of armed men. Former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., a known ally of the administration, was named suspect to the crime.

Nov. 24 – Gloria Arroyo placed the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City under a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the International Federation of Journalists declared the Philippines as “the most dangerous place in the world for media workers.”

CMC released a statement condemning the massacre and demanding the President to be made accountable “for the murders and mayhem perpetrated by her allies.”

Nov. 25 –Lakas-Kampi CMD, the ruling political party, officially expelled its members who were suspects in the massacre, namely Ampatuan Sr., ARMM Gov. Zaldy Uy Ampatuan and Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. The death toll peaked to 57, at least 27 of which were journalists.

Nov. 26 – Ampatuan Jr. surrendered to Mindanao Affairs Secretary Jesus Dureza, and was brought to the National Bureau of Investigation. He denied the allegations of murder, and instead accused the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a militant organization, as the perpetrators of the crime.

Nov. 27 –Mangudadatu filed his certificate of candidacy at Shariff Aguak.

CMC students, faculty and staff members, together with other UP students, converged at the Malcolm Hall in an indignation rally for the victims of the massacre. About 200 students were present as different organizations called for justice and offered prayers.

Nov. 28 –Seven more Ampatuans were labeled suspects in the case. They were ARMM Governor Ampatuan, Gov. Ampatuan Sr., and relatives Akmad, Saudi Jr., Bahnarian Jr., Sajid Islam, and Akmad Tato.

Nov. 29 – Supporters of the Ampatuan family, consisting of about 900 hundred people and about a dozen local officials from nearby provinces, rallied in front of Zaldy Ampatuan’s mansion in Maguindanao.

Nov. 30 – A new witness to the massacre surfaced. The witnesses implicated eight Ampatuans as the direct masterminds to the crime.

Dec. 1 – Ampatuan Jr. was officially charged in court with 25 counts of murder.
Dec. 2 – Ampatuan Sr. and seven other clan members were indicted for the massacre. Palace told state lawyers to “go full blast” with the prosecution of the suspects despite death threats.

Dec. 3 – Police forensics confirmed that at least five women were raped before they were shot. The police and the military recovered high-power firearms with PNP and DND markings from a vacant lot a few hundred meters from the Ampatuan house.

Dec. 4 – Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declares martial law in Maguindanao. Ampatuan Sr,, five other Ampatuans and six more suspects were summoned in court to face murder allegations.

Ampatuan’s lawyers filed a writ of amparo against the military for detaining Zaldy Ampatuan and his father when no formal charges have been filed against them.
CMC hosts the forum “’Wag Bibitiw sa Maguindanao 57” to call for justice for the massacre victims.

Dec. 5 – Most senators oppose martial law, fearing it would lead to Arroyo’s term extension. About 4,000 troops and 12 military tanks descended upon the people of Maguindanao to repress the purportedly brewing rebellion in the province.

Dec. 6 – Arroyo submits her report justifying the imposition of martial law to the Congress, which includes images of the victims’ mutilated corpses. Military forces continue to dig up arms caches allegedly owned by the Ampatuans as the number of arrest during martial law climb to 62.

Dec. 7 – Inquest proceedings for rebellion charges started against Ampatuan Sr, Zaldy Ampatuan and 24 others as the number of arrests climb to 67. Meanwhile, former Sen. Jovito Salonga and other lawyers filed five seperate petitions in a bid to nullify martial law, saying there was no rebellion in Maguindanao.

Dec. 8 – Ampatuan Sr. and Zaldy Ampatuan should have been charged with rebellion today, but the Justice Department could not file a case in the Cotabato court because it was a holiday there.

CMC puts up a countdown board, displaying the number of days until justice is served for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.

Dec. 9 – DOJ has filed rebellion charges against seven Ampatuans. Dec. 9 is dubbed the “Black Day” of mourning and indignation as media practitioners rally for justice for the massacre victims.

CMC puts up a freedom tarp where students could sign to express their condemnation of the massacre.

Dec. 10 – The number of arrests has climbed to 71, with 24 charged with rebellion and only one charged with murder in court.

UP students, along with other organizations, marched from Mendiola to Malacanang rallying for justice for the massacre victims and opposing martial law in light of International Human Rights Day.

Dec. 11 – AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado has recommended the lifting of martial law in Maguindanao because the local government offices were now functioning. Over 1,000 high-powered firearms have been recovered since the search spurred by the Nov. 23 killings.

Dec. 12 – Arroyo lifts martial law in Maguindanao. Despite this, Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command and Maguindanao martial law administrator, says the military will continue disarming private armies and arresting suspects of the massacre.

Dec. 13 – Maguindanao remains under a state of national emergency despite the lifting of martial law. Residents who vacated the province in fear of the military rule are starting to return back home.

Dec . 14 –The Senate adopted Resolution No. 1522 “expressing the sense of the Senate that the proclamation of martial law in the province of Maguindanao is contrary to the provisions of the 1987 Constitution.”

Government authorities filed a multiple murder case against Ampatuan Sr., and 27 others.

Dec. 15 –Arroyo defended the declaration of martial law in front of a group of teachers who visited the Palace, telling them that the government merely “[acted] quickly to secure the peace and ensure justice the safety of our people.” She also mentioned that her administration will “make no apologies for acting where others fear to tread.”

SOURCES: gmanews.tv, inquirer.net, abs-cbnnews.com, ifj.org, manilastandardtoday.com, fsrn.org

CMC stays vigilant after martial law in Maguindanao

By Alexandra Francisco and Kat Elona

Martial law may have been lifted, but this is no time for Filipinos to let their guard down, according to officials of the College of Mass Communication (CMC).

“As watchdogs, we have to be ready to bark—and even bite, if needed,” said CMC student council chair Rupert Mangilit. He said the college should remain on the look-out until justice is truly served for the victims. To start off, the college has held forums, protests and indignation rallies together with other students and organizations in the campus to condemn the Maguindanao massacre and the proclamation of martial law (see sidebar below).

Fifteen out of 18 college organizations have already released solidarity statements to condemn the killings

Meanwhile, CMC dean Rolando Tolentino said the martial law was “a test run for a larger martial law scenario,” which could lead to a no-election scenario, a failure of elections or to a shift from presidential to parliamentary form of government.

Journalism professor and political commentator Luis Teodoro said Tuesday that the martial law in Maguindanao has made it “easier” for Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to declare martial law in other parts of the country.

However, he said that Arroyo would not attempt to declare a nationwide martial law “unless circumstances are favorable.” “The president will see if it (martial law) is possible despite what people say,” Teodoro added.

Both Tolentino and Teodoro noted in earlier interviews the infiltration of Ampatuan’s paramilitary forces and presence of thousands of loose firearms in Metro Manila.

“Is he preparing the people for a declaration (of martial law) in Metro Manila?” Teodoro said.

Noting how Arroyo based her decision only on intelligence reports about an impending rebellion by Ampatuan militia, Mangilit quoted Commission on Human Rights Chair Leila de Lima as saying, “It takes very little to induce the Executive branch to declare martial law.”

Martial law was implemented to curb a “brewing rebellion” allegedly involving former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and 24 other suspects. It resulted to nearly 500 arrests and over 1,000 high-powered arms recovered in various raids as 4,000 troops swooped down on the province.

*With a report from Hon Sophia Balod

CMC STATEMENT Re: Maguindanao Massacre and journalists slaughtered In the line of duty

(Statement of undersigned Department of Journalism faculty members, and the Dean of the U.P. College of Mass Communication on the Maguindanao Massacre; this statement is being routed college-wide for signature of the college faculty)

The mutilated bodies of journalists Ian Subang (Dadiangas Times), Leah Dalmacio (Forum), Gina dela Cruz (Today), Marites Cablitas (Today), Joy Duhay (UNTV), Henry Araneta (DZRH), Andy Teodoro (Mindanao Inquirer), Neneng Montaño (formerly of RGMA), Bong Reblando, (Manila Bulletin), Victor Nuñez (UNTV), Macmac Ariola (UNTV), Jimmy Cabillo (UNTV), Bart Maravilla (Bombo Radyo, Koronadal) and lawyers Cynthia Oquendo and Connie Brizuela were recovered hours after they had set out to cover the filing of certificates of candidacy by the wife of a local official in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao yesterday.

The journalists and media practitioners were part of a convoy of some 44 unarmed civilians, most of them women, who were waylaid on their way to the Comelec office. According to reports, the skulls of some of the victims were shattered with bullets, their faces crushed beyond recognition, the women raped, and some of the other victims beheaded.

This is the largest number of journalists killed in one single incident anywhere in the world and comes amid local and international concern over deadly attacks on media people.

While the killings were the result of the long-running feud between the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus, both maintain private armies that the government has failed to disband. The President relies on her allies to deliver votes to Malacañang, some of whom maintain heavily armed goons beyond the pale of law. Covering elections has become a dangerous trade for journalists in this country. The massacre is in short the direct consequence of the state of lawlessness in Maguindanao abetted by the Arroyo regime, in the same manner that it abets and in some cases even encourages, extra judicial killings– and in the case of journalists, encourages further killings through its indifference.

While the massacre was being perpetrated, the President’s chief political adviser was in fact shaking hands with the Ampatuans in Malacañang yesterday, even as the PNP chief for Maguindanao refused to respond when the victims were calling him up by cellphone.

In an obvious attempt at benefitting from the brutal killings—and in tacit admission that the military and police cannot do anything to prevent further violence without special powers– the presidential adviser on the peace process, Jesus Dureza, could only propose the declaration of a state of emergency in Maguindanao.

The country has been down that road before, and we know where it leads: to further violence as the police and military mask their partisanship for the various groups fighting for power in the province; as well as to further abuse as they impose the will of their patrons on the citizenry.

The Department of Journalism of the U.P. College of Mass Communication holds the Arroyo government accountable for the continuing state of lawless violence in Maguindanao and other parts of the country.

We demand that the President be made to account for the murders and mayhem perpetrated by her allies and for her continued coddling of warlords and private armies. We demand the immediate arrest of the thugs armed with unlicensed firearms as well as their bosses, and the immediate arrest and detention of the perpetrators of the crime and its masterminds regardless of political party.

Mrs. Arroyo should otherwise relinquish control of the AFP units in the area to the Comelec. Her failure to act decisively would not only demonstrate that she has no control over those areas where her allies rule. It would also show that she has a conflict of interest—between her public duty to protect the life of every Filipino on the one hand, and on the other, her interest in coddling the warlords who have delivered votes for her administration in the past regardless of their cost in lives, and on whom she will once again depend in May, 2010.

Statement of undersigned faculty members of the Department of Journalism, and by the Dean of the U.P. College of Mass Communication (the statement is being routed college-wide for signature of members of the college faculty). 24 Nov. 2009
(in alphabetical order)
Eleanor Agulto, Lecturer, PR and Advertising
Teresa Congjuico, Lecturer, Publication Design & Lay-out
Fernando del Mundo, Lecturer, Investigative Reporting
Prof. Georgina R. Encanto, Ph.D., Professor, Fundamentals of Journalism, Feature Writing,
Prof. Theresa “Tessa” Jazmines, Professor, PR and Advertising
Prof. Rachel Khan, Professor, Newsreporting, Fundamentals of Journalism, Ethics
Prof. Marichu Lambino, Chair, Dep’t of Journalism (Media Law, Ethics, Fundamentals)
Dennis Sabangan, Lecturer, Photojournalism
Lucia Tangi, Instructor, Newsreporting, History of the Press
Former dean, Prof. Luis Teodoro, Professorial Lecturer, Ethics, Fundamentals, etc.
Prof. Rolando Tolentino, Ph.D, Dean, U.P. College of Mass Communication

For Reference:
Dean Rolando Tolentino, Tel. No. 928-3188
Prof. Marichu Lambino, Tel. No. 920- 6852

Mikee Reyes on target: profiling the Maroons’ power shooter

The UP Fighting Maroons’ victory over the DLSU Green Archers couldn’t be sweeter for anyone else than rookie Mikee Reyes. Aside from posting a career high of 25 points, the best output of any freshman player this season, he also got to accomplish his personal mission: to outdo the Archers.

By Katrina Angco

UP Fighting Maroons rookie Mikee Reyes charges towards Micheal Luy of the NU Bulldogs as Mike Maniego looks on during the two teams’ second meeting at the UAAP Season 72 Men’s Basketball division. Photo by Roehl Niño Bautista
UP Fighting Maroons rookie Mikee Reyes charges towards Micheal Luy of the NU Bulldogs as Mike Maniego looks on during the two teams’ second meeting at the UAAP Season 72 Men’s Basketball division. Photo by Roehl Niño Bautista

The UP Fighting Maroons’ victory over the DLSU Green Archers couldn’t be sweeter for anyone else than rookie Mikee Reyes. Aside from posting a career high of 25 points, the best output of any freshman player this season, he also got to accomplish his personal mission: to outdo the Archers.

“I really wanted to beat La Salle,” said Reyes, who went to La Salle Greenhills (LSGH) for highschool. His desire did not go unsatisfied, as he led the Maroons in giving the Archers their fourth consecutive loss in Season 72, registering six assists and five rebounds on top of shooting 50 percent from the field and the perimeter.

The 5’9 point guard played for the LSGH Junior Blazers. But instead of choosing Taft as his home in the college league, he decided to bring his magic to Diliman.

UP’s underdog status in the UAAP enticed Reyes to suit up for the Maroons. “I think I wanted the challenge because UP hasn’t won anything,” he said. Undeniably, he took this challenge head on and made his mark as a playmaker that also provides his team with offense.

“He’s our energy player,” said men’s basketball team head coach Aboy Castro. He likens Reyes to PBA player Jimmy Alapag, who is known to be a speedy point guard as well as good perimeter shooter.

The Sports Science major was exposed by his parents to basketball at an early age. “When I was a baby, my crib even had a [basketball] hoop inside,” he shared.

He started attending basketball camps while he was in prep at the Ateneo. His father, a former San Beda Red Lion, is highly influential in his athletic career. “He gives me tips and tells me which things I have to improve on,” he said.

The women in Reyes’s life are also all very supportive of his basketball career. His mom and four sisters are always present in his games to act as his own cheering squad, complete with # 9 Reyes jerseys. His girlfriend, on the other hand, doesn’t just provide him with inspiration, but also helps him deal with the demands of life as a student-athlete.

Like most college ballers, Reyes aspires to join the professional ranks in the future. But for now, he is focused on bringing back the basketball glory to UP.

“The future is very bright for us,” he said. Reyes believes that the team has enough talent and with hard work, soon, they will get to the promised land.

No tambayan present for Christmas (corrected)

No tambayan present for Christmas
By Alexandra Francisco

The construction of tambayans will start on December, and not finish by that month as previously announced, according to college secretary Lourdes Portus.

The College of Mass Communication (CMC) secretary said the student organizations’ long-awaited permanent tambayans would start by the end of the year, built three to six months later at the grassy area facing the Media Center.

College dean Rolando Tolentino had declared last July that the construction, which included the refurbishment of the canteen, would be done by December, but Portus said the bidding process took time to accomplish.

“The bidding process must be completed before Dec. 31,” said CMC administrative officer Gina Villegas, adding that Sen. Edgardo Angara’s one million peso grant would expire if a contractor was not identified by then.

Despite being informed that bidding would close by November, CMC student council (CMC-SC) vice-chair Paula Lim said, “We feel positive because at least there’s progress, even if it’s at a slow pace.”

Journalism representative Kelvin Paulino also remains positive despite minor holdups on the construction of tambayans. “Let’s just be patient and continue knocking on the doors of the administration for a prompter action,” he said.

As of press time, Villegas said the Office of the Campus Architect (OCA) is rushing the plans and estimates for the project.

Meanwhile, student organizations were given the option to use four tables and six benches near the TV studio at the Media Center, which Portus said was not a “tambayan” but a “temporary area where they can meet.”

However, organization members said the meeting area, even if wi-fi enabled, was too far from the main buildings.

Journalism Club president John Antiquerra added the open place exposed students to the rain, mosquitoes and dog stench which was rabid near the targeted construction area.

While Edmalynne Remillano of the Union of the Journalists of the Philippines’s UP chapter said they did not use the area because UJP held most of its activities in the main building.

Meanwhile, Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP CMC chair Absolom Eligio said the tables and seats in skywalk—where the organizations temporarily hung-out—were often disarranged because of college events. He said the temporary tambayan beside the SC offices “looks like a storage room.”

CMC-SC chair Rupert Mangilit said these concerns would be brought up in the next council’s dialogue with the dean and the college secretary.

The previous tambayans were located in M207 and the rooms near the photocopying area were deconstructed in 2007 in favor of transforming them into classrooms. Since then, organizations had clamored for new places to hang-out in to conduct their meetings and other activities.

Initially, the administration thought of buying huts as tambayans but the plan was scrapped because the permanent structures were promised to the students by the end of the year, Mangilit said.

With reports from Katherine Elona, Ernica de Guzman and Katrina Alba.

(Editors note: some quotes from sources have been erroneously translated from Filipino. We have corrected the error as they appear in the print addition, and we extend our apologies.)

CMC Students’ Draft Statement on the Right to Reply Bill

CMC Students’ Draft Statement on the Right to Reply Bill

The election campaign season is fast approaching. The media are again expected to play the important role of helping the people make sound decisions. It is a crucial role that can make or break the country’s future; a daunting task to ensure that their democratic exercise to vote will not be put to waste. Yet, the Right of Reply Bill might just impede the media practitioners to fully perform this role, especially if it gets passed before or just in time for the election campaign. To echo the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility’s concern, the Philippine media would have a hard time dealing with accommodating replies of allegedly maligned politicians over more important news and information which could have helped the people to, quoting Bill Kovach, be “free and self-governing.”

Media can never be platforms crowded with replies of politicians. This will be a grave disservice to the people to which the media should empower.

But more than the issues that go with the 2010 elections, we condemn the bill as a breach of the constitutional safeguards toward a free environment for the press. We were being taught of the concept of editorial prerogative, a prerogative that emanates from the guarantee of a free press as mandated by the Art. III, Sec. 4 of the 1987 Constitution. The absence of state intervention in the affairs of the media makes it possible for the media to perform its check-and-balance functions. This recent move to partly impose content on all media, no matter how partly it covers print or web space or air time, is unconstitutional.

We uphold this right as further supported by the landmark case Miami Herald Publishing Co. vs. Tornillo. The decision read: “A newspaper (or any media entity) is more than a passive receptacle and conduit (of information)….The choice of material and limitations on size and of content constitute the exercise of editorial control and judgment.” This encapsulates the overarching wisdom behind the free press clause, and must be scrapped altogether.

If this imposition will be passed, it will only create a more difficult environment for the media, which is already struggling in recent years. For instance, the campus press, as part of alternative media, will suffer most the brunt of this repressive measure. The bill imposed fines of up to P200,000. With lack of resources to come up with an issue, and the lack of administrative support experienced by some campus and college-wide publications, how would they pay the fine? Will they just fall on a tendency to be too careful to point of falling short to its duty to expose the ills of the society and the suspects behind these?

Add to that a culture of impunity, and as broadcast journalist Maria Ressa constantly points out, a “chilling effect” created for the media. Our recent ranking, sixth at the 2009 Global Impunity Index, is a shame to this government which failed to implement significant measures to provide justice to the 96-and -counting cases of journalist killings.

Strengthening the manifestation of this kind of environment are the turn of events in recent years: Mr. Mike Arroyo’s case-filing spree against 50 journalists, the handcuffing of journalists covering the infamous Manila Peninsula Siege, the filing of wiretapping case against veteran broadcast journalist Cheche Lazaro, and of late, the assault to a campus journalist while covering the break-in of several students in Malacañang, and the directive from the Office of the Ombudsman tightening the process of asking the Statements of Assets and Liabilities of government officials.

Indeed, for the Philippine media, these are times made more difficult by the state’s blatant attempts to muzzle press freedom. As future media practitioners, the ones who will inherit this bill when it gets passed, it is high time to rise within our ranks go out of our way to help media practitioners in their call to scrap such unconstitutional, imposing and harmful bill.

UP, the National University, Extends Help to the Nation

A week long of class suspension would probably mean a week full of rest and recreation.

But for students in the Philippines, a week without school is the time to lend help to a country that has been devastated by what authorities call as the worst flood in Philippine history.

By Cake Evangelista

The week-long suspension of classes meant work, not play, for students helping out at the Church of the Risen Lord in UP Diliman. Around the metro, schools and institutions are also busy with relief operations. Photo by Joseph Pascual.
The week-long suspension of classes was an opportunity to work, not play, for students helping out at the Church of the Risen Lord in UP Diliman. Around the metro, schools and institutions are also busy with relief operations. Photo by Joseph Pascual.

8926_1044581531042_1720760709_84541_2925163_nStudents from the University of the Philippines’s (UP) flagship campus in Diliman, Quezon City in Metro Manila organized SAGIP ISKO (Save the Scholar), a relief operation drive that seeks to deliver relief goods and other basic necessities to people who have been affected by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (international name, Ketsana).

Consistent with the initiatives of the university administration and student councils, the UP Diliman community consolidated all efforts from its colleges and student organizations in helping out the different communities around the campus that have been severely affected by the abnormal weather disturbance.

Among the activities of UP SAGIP ISKO have been organizing, repacking, and distributing relief items which included food, potable water, toiletries, clothing, and medicine to communities in need. They also have been conducting assistance for stranded, flooded, missing, and sick UP Diliman students and employees. Its headquarters is at the Church of the Risen Lord, Laurel Street, UP Diliman Campus.

UP SAGIP ISKO delivered last Sept. 28 more than 800 bags of relief items in the surrounding Diliman communities.

On its second day, Sept. 29, UP SAGIP ISKO, with more than 500 volunteers and donors, was able to provide as many as 3,200 bags of relief items to the different communities in Quezon City, Rizal, Bulacan, Pasig and Marikina.

UP SAGIP ISKO is also in consolidation efforts with neighboring relief operations such as those of the Ateneo De Manila University community. It has also coordinated with direct service delivery organizations like the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), wherein volunteers have been deployed to the relief and clean-up operations of the PNRC in Cainta, Rizal.

Tropical Storm “Ondoy” hit the Philippines last Sept. 26, bringing a month’s worth of rainfall in the country’s capital Manila and neighboring areas in just a few short hours. The storm caused widespread flooding, destruction of houses and other infrastructure, and displacement of thousands of families.

As of this writing, the National Disaster Coordinating Council reportedly announced that the agricultural and infrastructural damage brought by the onslaught of “Ondoy” has reached an estimated amount of 4.6 billion pesos. It also affected as many as 1.93 million Filipinos.

For more information, please visit http://updusc.multiply.com

Photos are available at this address: http://updusc.multiply.com/photos/album/26/UP_Sagip_Isko

Contact Person: UPD USC Chairperson Titus Tan (0917-8001909), updusc@gmail.com

Editor’s note: this is a statement released by the UPD USC.

Call for donations

Beginning Mon., Sept. 28, the UP College of Mass Communication will be accepting donations for UP Staff and the public affected by the worst flooding in Metro Manila. Send clothes, household and food items, bottled water, instant noodles, and other items to the Dean’s Office of CMC. – Dean Roland Tolentino

Story conference on Friday

storycon1Tinig ng Plaridel is inviting all interested writers, photographers, cartoonists and layout artists to its story conference on Friday, Sept. 4, 5 p.m. at the CMC Student Council office. (It’s the one outside the photocopy area, last door at end of the hallway.) We’ll be discussing the second and final print issue for the first semester of AY 2009-2010.

Direct all inquiries to Sophia at 09273315688 or e-mail tinigngplaridel@gmail.com.