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25 years after Mendiola Massacre: Filipino people must continue fight for justice and genuine land reform

By JORGE MADLOS (Ka Oris)
Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao

Today, the NDFP-Mindanao is one with the Filipino people in remembering the single most bloody event in 1987 when thousands of peasants marched towards Mendiola to reach Malacaňang and demand in protest the implementation of genuine land reform from Corazon Aquino, who was only into her second year since catapulted to the presidency via the Edsa uprising.

The Mendiola massacre, where over twenty farmers were killed on the spot and several hundred others injured, exposed Cory Aquino’s only true loyalty which was to her big landlord clan, and began the people’s disillusionment towards a regime that rode on the wings of mass movement only to have those wings mangled by a masterstroke of fascism.

Twenty-five years hence, justice continues to evade the Mendiola massacre victims and their families because the very masterminds and perpetrators were never punished. Now, with the scion of the so-called “hero of Edsa,” Benigno Aquino III, in the presidency, justice has become ever more elusive.

There’s blood on the hands of Noynoy Aquino: the Hacienda Luisita massacre. As with the Mendiola carnage, nobody has been punished for the killing of seven farmers and injuring of dozens of others during one of the most violent crackdown against peasants and workers in Hacienda Luisita.

When the Arroyo-Corona Supreme Court decided to cancel the stock distribution option (SDO) and proceed with the land distribution of Hacienda Luisita land farmers, Noynoy Aquino was quick to take steps against this.  Immediately after the decision was made, he was on the warpath to have Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached and have him replaced with one of his minions to apparently have the decision reversed to his landlord clan’s favor.

Noynoy Aquino and the big landlord Cojuangco-Aquino clan have no intention to simply give the land to the very farmers and workers whom they have enslaved, oppressed and exploited for decades. The demand for genuine land reform is an anathema to the Cojuangco-Aquino landlords as well as to the whole US-Aquino reactionary regime.

Thus, to honor the memory of the martyred peasants who laid their lives for land in both the Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita massacres, we must broaden and strengthen our ranks in pressing for justice and genuine land reform.  We must be aware however that we can neither rely on the halls of an Arroyo-Corona Supreme Court nor can we depend on an Aquino-dominated Supreme Court to achieve this.  Only from our collective strength for both the open mass struggle and armed struggle can justice be truly served for the martyrs of both the Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita massacres.

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