By Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
Spokesperson, NDFP – Mindanao
The National Democratic Front-Mindanao considers the Arroyo regime's declaration of martial rule in the province of Magindanao on Dec. 5 as a brazen abuse of power that dangerously leads to the impingement of the rights of the people and is directed against the struggle of the Bangsamoro in particular and of the Filipino people in general.
The Arroyo governement, which is supposed to end in 2010 shamelessly used the Maguidnanao massacre as a perfect alibi to impose martial law and use it as a testing ground for its eventual imposition nationwide.
The declaration of martial law in Maguindanao satisfies nothing but Arroyo's greed for power. It is a desperate bid to eradicate any prospect of prosecution once out of power.
While the nation, together with the international community, link arms to condemn the brutal mass murder of about 60 people, including media workers, lawyers, and innocent civilians, and to demand swift justice, the proclamation of martial law by the fascist Arroyo government instead signals treachery and tyranny.
No amount of vain posturing and false propaganda can hide the fact that it is the Arroyo government, through the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army that armed the Ampatuan warlords to the teeth over the years. The creation of the Ampatuan monster in Maguindanao served no less to maintain Arroyo's hold onto power, especially by means of large-scale cheating in the elections and by intensifying 'counter-insurgency' operations in Maguindanao and nearby provinces.
The declaration of martial law serves to wash the blood off the hands of one who encouraged, fattened and armed the Ampatuan Terror. But with the Ampatuan warlords' flagrant display of wealth as seen in their mansions and recently-discovered cache of government-issued firearms and ammunition (said to be enough to equip an army brigade), who is this reactionary government fooling?
With the imposition of martial law, the Arroyo regime can very well manipulate the investigation and the handling of evidence. And since the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, wanton arrests of supposed suspects may only victimize innocent Moro civilians and spawn human rights violations in the area.
Moreover, it is preposterous on the part of the Arroyo government to justify the imposition of martial law supposedly to overcome legal impediments to the investigation and arrest of the perpetrators of the massacre. The irony is that there are more than enough bourgeois laws to nail legitimate opposition and dissenters, but never enough to prosecute the regime's political cohorts.
The question therefore is not simply whether martial law should be imposed, but whether and how to dismantle a strong indispensable ally, and at the same time grab that golden opportunity to perpetuate oneself in power.
Justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre can never be achieved under the reign of Arroyo, who, despite the impositon of martial law, will never cut ties with the murderers. With the likes of her in power, one simply cannot hope to have the culprits brought to justice. The murderers cannot simply be turned in by the murderer-in-chief.
The Filipino people must unite and strengthen its resolve now more than ever to oust the Arroyo regime. Gloria Arroyo must be put down if she does not step down. It is a challenge for a new administration that can beat Arroyos' power play to prove that it can best serve the interest of the victims of the Magunidanao massacre, their families and the people by giving them genuine justice in this case, and also addressing other more basic social problems.
In light of all this, the NDF-Mindanao strongly calls on the Filipino people to unite with distinguished members of the international community and serve the interest of justice by demanding the formation of an independent fact-finding committee to investigate all aspects and circumstances surrounding the brutal slaying of about 60 innocent people in Maguindanao.
With one voice, the NDF-Mindanao enjoins the people to say: NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!