(Connie with Rep. Satur Ocampo and former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona in Sept. 2007 during the NUPL Founding Congress.)

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) strongly condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrible act of brutal killings of innocent civilians including its two lawyer-members, Attys. Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, and scores of women and journalists in Maguindanao yesterday.

Penal books are not enough to depict the horrifying mass slaughter of innocent civilians, much less the state of mental perversity of their executioners in the commission of such a gruesome act.

Lawyers are essential agents of the administration of justice, and journalists are an institution in a civilized society. If lawyers and journalists are brutally murdered while in the performance of their duties, and in broad daylight at that, democracy is dead, plain and simple.

Malacañang must see to it that it knows how to accord justice to the hapless victims, especially in this case where military reports disclosed that the mastermind is its closest political ally in Mindanao, the Ampatuans. All government resources must be brought to bear on the Ampatuans. Otherwise, Malacañang itself would tolerate lawlessness and violence. The private army of the Ampatuans must be instantly disarmed and placed under immediate custody and investigation, and all their firearm licenses immediately revoked.

Malacañang’s tolerance of warlords greatly contributes to the persistence of the culture of impunity in our society. Since 2001 and prior to the Maguindanao massacre, 22 lawyers and 15 judges in the country have already been murdered and not a soul was put in prison by the authorities, and this has earned the present administration the dubious distinction of having the most number of lawyers and judges that were killed in an administration.

These extra-judicial killings of lawyers and journalists must be put to an end. We demand in the strongest possible manner that justice be accorded to the innocent victims, particularly to our compañeros, Attys. Brizuela and Oquendo. We demand justice, no more, no less.

Contact Person:

Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag (0927.9293089)