Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the recent violence in the southern Philippines, in which more than 57 civilians have been killed in the context of a local election campaign, and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
He condemns this heinous crime committed in the context of a local election campaign. The Secretary-General extends heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and hopes that no effort will be spared to bring justice and to hold the perpetrators accountable.
The National Press Club (NPC) and the Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag (AFIMA) denounced the abduction and massacre of at least 36 persons, including media men, in Barangay Masalay, Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao.
NPC president Benny Antiporda said in a statement, “The incident came as a humiliating slap on the face of efforts to put an end to the culture of impunity that has caused the deaths of scores of journalists.”
“Never in the history of journalism have the news media suffered such a heavy loss of life in one day,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“We convey our condolences and sympathy to all journalists in the Philippines, who are in state of shock after this appalling massacre.”
The press freedom organisation added: “We have often condemned the culture of impunity and violence in the Philippines, especially Mindanao. This time, the frenzied violence of thugs working for corrupt politicians has resulted in an incomprehensible bloodbath. We call for a strong reaction from the local and national authorities.”
The massacre took place a few hours after around 100 gunmen led by Andal Ampatuan Jr., the mayor of Shariff Aguak (a municipality in Maguindanao province), and a police inspector identified solely by the name of Dicay kidnapped members of a large convoy of supporters of Esmael Mangudadatu, an Ampatuan clan opponent who wants to run for governor.
The convoy of Mangudadatu supporters, accompanied by journalists, had been on its way to an electoral bureau to file documents related to his candidacy, which the gunmen wanted to prevent. The fatalities included Mangudadatu’s wife, sister and other relatives. The governor’s son is also alleged to have been involved in the massacre.