Tuesday, November 24

Maguindanao massacre: Tragedy of Philippine politics

Politics in the Philippines is not for the faint of heart. The system is so corrupt I could count in one hand the politicians who are deemed honest enough to vote for. Most here see political power as their ticket to riches and family glory because once their terms end they could just 'transfer' their power to their wives, children, siblings etc. Sadly, these are done through elections and I suppose people voting for the devil they know is understandable but it doesn't make it less tragic. I'm a Christian so I'm naturally optimistic about things but today...

From the Inquirer

SANIAG, Maguindanao - Screams of anguish pierced the farming village of Saniag Tuesday as police pulled bodies from a mass grave, unearthing one of the most brutal political killings in Philippine history.

The victims had been dumped in the hastily dug graves on Monday, shortly after gunmen allegedly linked to a local political chief shot dead at least 46 of them from close range with what police said were M-16 assault rifles.

...from a small party of mostly female opposition politicians and a large group of accompanying journalists who were abducted on Monday morning as they embarked on a trip to an electoral office.

Several hours after the abduction, the military found the victims' six-vehicle convoy just off the lonely unpaved road of Saniag along with 22 bodies that had been dumped close by.

The southernmost part of the country has always been restive. Violence is normal, just part of life I thought, the Muslim insurgency there has been going on even before I was born. Having lived most of my life in Luzon the largest, most prosperous island in the Philippines it was easy to shrug off the news coming out of Mindanao. It's so far away from Manila, this city girl couldn't relate to the myriad of issues they are facing there. Even when separatist groups bombed trains in the capital and killed people just a few years ago, those were rare enough that after cursing the terrorist b*st*rds for their perfidy I went right back to my apathy. Out of sight, out of mind you know.

This latest barbaric act though is something else. I'm at a loss for words. These savages abducted and killed 46 people on their way to filing a certificate of candidacy for a politician to run for governor of Maguindanao province. Apparently the little tyrant governor there wanted his son to 'inherit' his governorship unopposed. People would do something like this for political power? There's never an election season in the Philippines without killings and all but never like this. What kind of animals are these murderers? What has this country become when merely filing papers to run for office is seen as a sin so egregious one has to kill for it? It makes me very sad for my country.

Update: death toll now at 57
 Update 2.0: Videos about the massacre victims:


Anonymous,  01:34  

I hope justice will be served. The videos of the victims' families made me so sad.

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