Group says Aquino should apologize for Mendiola Massacre

A party list group representing marginalized farmers all over the country today urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino IIII to render an honest-to-goodness public apology to families of the victims and survivors of Mendiola Massacre that took place 26 years ago at the historic Don Chino Roces bridge.

The progressive party list group Anakpawis said the President and his family representing the landed Cojuangco clan should admit that his mother– the late Presisident Corazon Aquino made a major blunder for not stopping war freak troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Constabulary from peppering protesting farmers with bullets on January 22, 1987 and for reneging that 26 year old promise to break land monopoly that would lead to distribution of agricultural lands for free to landless, land lacking and willing to till Filipinos.

Fernando Hicap, the party list vice chairperson said Mendiola Massacre will not happen if the former President had pursued free land distribution in the best interest of landless farmers, including the controversial 6,450 hectare Hacienda Luisita and had restrained the trigger happy military from firing their guns at protesting farmers mainly from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

“The ghost of Mendiola Massacre and the equally blasphemous Hacienda Luisita massacre will endlessly hound the Cojuangco-Aquino landed aristocracy unless they make up for their mistakes and do corrective measures in the name of those who offered their lives at the altar of thoroughoing land reform and social justice,” he said.

The Anakpawis party list official said a public apology from President Aquino and other members of the Cojuangco clan is politically, morally and legally deserved by the families of the victims and Mendiola Massacre. Hicap said after issuing a sincere public apology, Mr. Aquino should declare the free land distrubution of agrarian lands to landless peasants all over the country and best way to start this legitimate concern of the general public is the unconditional and urgent free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to more than 6,000 farmer beneficiaries.

” It is his duty to rectify this long running fatal error, allow the wheels of justice to proceed that will culminate in the indemnification and redemption of farmers, and free distribution of 6,450 hectares Hacienda Luisita and other vast tracts of land to landless and land lacking farmers all over the country,” Hicap said.

“Mr. Aquino is already three years in office but his administration continues to play deaf and dumb on the legitimate demand of the farmers for land, justice and liberation. His refusal to pursue a re-investigation of Mendiola Massacre is not only a case of justice delayed, justice denied. In real sense, it is a deliberate act to deny justice,” said Anakpawis party list.

The Anakpawis party list recalled that in 2004 or 9 years ago, farmer groups had came out with a proposal asking Congress to enact a law that would compensate the victims of Mendiola Massacre. It said the bill would be parallel to House Bill 4535 sponsored by Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo that sought indemnification of some10,000 human rights victims during Martial Law.

On top of free land distribution they said the compensation law seeks to indemnify the victims, expose state violence against the peasantry and above all pursue justice for Filipino farmers.”

On January 22, 1987, before more than 10,000 farmers could reach Malacañang Palace, the Marines and police shot and killed 13 peasants, wounded 105 and arrested 15 of Mariano’s colleagues in the peasant

Anakpawis recalled that the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) filed a lawsuit for reparations of P 250,000 per family of each murdered victim and P 50,000 for each person wounded in the massacre but this plea for indemnification was rejected by former President. Aquino and her generals.

Those who died in Mendiola 17 years ago and honored by peers as martyrs are: Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul. The relatives of 13 victims are organized under the Kilusang Enero 22 (KE 22), which was formed on March 22, 1994.

The KMP said the victims’ families and survivors of Mendiola Massacre named former President then Secretary of National Defense Fidel Ramos, former AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Renato de Villa, former WPD Supt. B/Gen. Alfredo Lim, then Marine chief now reelectionist Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, B/Gen. Brigido Paredes, Col. Edgar de la Torre and Col. Romero Monfort of the defunct Capcom and former PNP Chief Cesar Nazareno in the P 6.5 million peso law suit.

On May 31,1988 Judge Edilberto Sandoval of Branch 9 of the Manila Regional Trial Court dismissed the lawsuit against the Aquino administration and on Aug. 8 that year, the Supreme court acquitted the government, citing the state’s immunity from suit.


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