CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today released the following statement:
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino peasant masses in commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre tomorrow. We recall with profound indignation how armed soldiers and police under the command of then Gen. Alfredo Lim and Gen. Ramon Montaño fired at several thousand peasant demonstrators and their supporters among the worker and student sectors. The firing lasted for several minutes after which at least 13 people lay lifeless on the pavement just a few meters from the historic Mendiola bridge. Hundreds of others were wounded.
Twenty-five years after, not a single perpetrator or mastermind of the ignominious Mendiola Massacre has ever been punished. The peasant masses’ thirst for justice remain unquenched. They point to then president Corazon Aquino of the landlord Cojuangco clan as the person ultimately responsible for the massacre.
Corazon Aquino, who earlier promised to subject her clan’s Hacienda Luisita to land reform as the centerpiece program of her government, not only failed to fulfill such a promise; she further ordered her armed forces to carry out a war of suppression against the peasant masses resulting in the Lupao Massacre of 1987, numerous cases of extrajudicial killings, and other brutalities.
More importantly, the demand for land reform, which the peasant masses bannered 25 years ago to this day, remains unheeded. For the peasant masses, it is a bitter irony that the 25th year of the Mendiola Massacre is being commemorated under a regime headed by Corazon Aquino’s son Benigno III, who himself has been indicted in the massacre of peasants in their hacienda in 2004.
The significance of this year’s commemoration of the Mendiola Massacre is further underscored as the struggle for land reform is once again at the fore of national consciousness. In particular, there is now a growing urgency in the clamor for the free distribution of the Hacienda Luisita land, boosted by the recent resolution of the Supreme Court ordering the Cojuangco family to subject more than 4,500 hectares of hacienda land to land reform. The Cojuangco landlords with their scion Benigno Aquino III as president are determined to reverse the Supreme Court decision and keep Hacienda Luisita.
This year, let us recall the Mendiola Massacre and declare as People’s Martyrs those who spilt their blood for the cause of the peasant masses and the Filipino people. Let us not waiver in demanding to put to justice the perpetrators of the Mendiola Massacre as well as the innumerable fascist crimes committed against the people by the vile reactionary classes. Let us reaffirm our commitment to and intensify our struggle for genuine land reform.