Groups to Aquino: Indemnify Mendiola Massacre victims

GROUPS on Thursday urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to rectify the errors of the past and indemnify the victims of the infamous Mendiola Massacre 26 years ago.

The party list group Anakpawis and Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya said Pres. Aquino is historically, politically, legally and morally bound to deliver justice to 13 farmers who were killed on January 22, 1987 at the foot of Mendiola bridge, now known as Don Chino Roces.

“Mr. Aquino should bear in mind that his mother– the late President Corazon Aquino failed in delivering justice to massacred peasants clamoring for land and justice as promised by the late former President.

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,” Anakpawis vice chairperson Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France 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,” they added.

The Anakpawis and Pamalakaya leader recalled that in 2004 or 9 years ago, their groups had came out with a proposal asking Congress to enact a law that would compensate the victims of Mendiola Massacre. Hicap and France 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 and Pamalakaya 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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