Death toll rises to 57 for Philippines killings - Second Update
Andal Ampatuan Jr has just been arrested for questioning (ABS CBN television live report) I am an eye witness and he is the only one arrested so far. This is a legal procedure and does not indicate he is guilty.
Up date its thought that there is a possibility of more bodies being found 10 more were found yesterday bring the total up to 57.
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Ponce, spokesperson for the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said the total number of bodies retrieved, as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, climbed to 57.
Although the police have already tagged Ampatuan Jr. in the gruesome murder of at least 60 people, including 34 journalists, two female lawyers and the wife and sisters of Buluan Vice Mayor Ismael "Toto" Mangudadatu, no arrest has so far been made.
According to Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, Malacañang will not order the relief and arrest of Ampatuan Jr. until cases are filed against him for his alleged involvement in the massacre.
"We have due process to be observed also, so let us allow the investigators on the ground to come up with [a case] through their investigation," he said in an interview over ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda Wednesday morning.
The casualties of a fight between two Islamic warlords (Mangudadatu versus Ampatuan) is mounting up the death toll being 47 in an area of the Philippines that still operates on archaic methodologies that date back further than the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. (The Ampatuan's are the most powerful clan, seemingly they thought they could get away with murder) Today's reports .....
MALACAÑANG brushed off claims that the Ampatuans are known allies of the President, thus partiality could tarnish the investigation on the case.
The Ampatuans were implicated in the killing of at least 35 people in Maguindanao.
On Monday, about 40 people were abducted when the wife of Buluan town Vice Mayor Ismael "Toto" Mangudadatu, accompanied by relatives, journalists, and lawyers, was about to file her husband's certificate of candidacy at the local Commission on Elections office.
Their group was waylaid by a group of about 100 armed men.
Mangudadatu is a gubernatorial aspirant in Maguindanao.
At least 46 people are now known to have died in a mass political killing the Philippines, after more bodies were discovered in a shallow grave.
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has declared a state of emergency in two provinces on the island of Mindanao to allow police to search for the gunmen.
The victims were killed as they were travelling to file nomination papers for elections next May.
It is one of the worst incidents of pre-poll violence in the Philippines.
There are conflicting reports about whether anyone survived.
Response from warlord Mangudadatu, of course what he say's does not come from his heart and this does not mean he will not take revenge.
DESPITE losing a wife, two sisters and several relatives, Buluan Vice Mayor Ismael "Toto" Mangudadatu vowed Tuesday to let the law of justice take its course and appealed for sobriety among kin and supporters.
"I am asking the government to allow the law to take its course. The law maybe harsh, but it's the law," he said.
History of the Area.
Shariff Mohammed Kabungsuwan of Johore introduced Islam in the area at the end of the 15th century. He subsequently married a local princess from the Iranun Tribe of Malabang and Maguindanao Province, and established the Sultanate of Maguindanao. The Cotabato Valley formed the sultanate's heartland but its influence extended from the Zamboanga Peninsula to Sarangani Bay and Davao.
The Spaniards launched expeditions to subdue the area throughout the colonial era but they never gained control of the region until the middle of the 19th century.
During the American period, Cotabato became a district of the Moro Province created in 1903 and a province of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu in 1914.
In 1942, the Japanese Imperial forces entered what is now Maguindanao.
In 1945, Maguindanao was liberated by allied Philippine Commonwealth troops and Maguindanaoan guerrilla units after defeating the Japanese Imperial forces in the Battle of Maguindanao during the Second World War.
The old province of Cotabato was divided in 1966 into Cotabato and South Cotabato. In 1973, the successor province of Cotabato was split into the provinces of Maguindanao, (North) Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
Maguindanao is the only Muslim-majority province of the four created out of the original Cotabato Province. In 1989, majority of its voters opted to join the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao but Cotabato City did not, which, ironically, has since served as the provisional capital of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
On October 31, 2006, Maguindanao voters approved the creation of a new province to be composed of 10 towns from the province. Of more than 500,000 voters registered, 285,372 favored the creation of the province, and 8,802 voted against it. The new province, Shariff Kabunsuan, became the country's 80th province and the 6th in the ARMM. It was composed of the towns of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah T. Sinsuat, Sultan Mastura, Parang, Buldon, Matanog and Barira. However, in July 2008, the Supreme Court nullified the province's creation, restoring its municipalities to Maguindanao.
Maguindanao is a province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Its capital is Shariff Aguak. It borders Lanao del Sur to the north, Cotabato to the east, and Sultan Kudarat to the south.
Warlords and private armies.
"It is an undying fact that Philippines is still ruled by clans and warlords - and these people are monsters created by President Gloria Arroyo and past governments," said Marites Vitug, editor of Newsbreak and author of several books on Mindanao, corruption and politics.
Central government in the Philippines is habitually weak and buys local support by supporting the local patriarchs.
Complicating the mix in Mindanao is the ongoing series of Muslim and communist insurgencies which have long been used by the authorities to justify new sources of funding for local favourites.
In this case some of the suspected killers were "Civilian Volunteers", groups of young men organised to support the local police in "anti-insurgency" work.
What the governments doing...
State of emergency
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato City.
Remonde said Arroyo through Proclamation 1946 placed the three southern provinces under state of emergency in order to "prevent and suppress the occurrence of several other incidents of lawless violence" in the area.
To immediately prevent the same incident to happen again, Arroyo during the cabinet meeting in Malacanang compound Tuesday made Proclamation 1946 based on the recommendation of the security cluster and the entire cabinet members.
He said the state of emergency will take effect and be enforced in the three provinces until the President lifted or withdrawn it.
Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello said some of the legal implications of the state of emergency are the possible suspension of habeas corpus and the disarmament of private armies.
Arroyo ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement the provisions of the proclamation particularly the prevention of the same violence of happening again in the affected areas.
The warlords have been allowed to have their own private armies these armies are sometimes heavily armed, as both parties in the argument have their own armies and Hench men this vendetta is not over, even though government the NBI and the armed forces have stepped in, the private war will continue.
There is possible connections to the Abu Sayyaf accusation are already being made on the local news media but my gut feeling this is all about power and corruption and the nice large pork barrel that give incentives to such corruption.
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Negros Oriental, Philippines