By Mike C. Maga, Jr. General Secretary, CIU

The Confederation of independent Unions in the Public Sector (CIU) strongly condemns in the strongest possible terms the brutal slaying of innocent civilians, journalists and political in the so called Maguindanao Massacre last Monday, November 23, 2009.

Victims of this savage act are employees of the Tacurong City local government in Sultan Kudarat province and are members of the Tacurong City Employees Association (TACEA-CIU) who is an affiliate of the CIU. Those unwary and unsuspecting innocent people were on its way to the Cotabato Regional Hospital for medical check up only when the incident happened. They just happen to be at the tail end of the convoy of the Mangudadatus when the group’s convoy was allegedly stopped by the group of the Ampatuans. The convoy was immediately cordoned and sealed off including the Vios.

Reports from Tom Robles, TACEA-CIU president said that there were five (5) fatalities and that the government vehicle they were riding in was buried. Last Tuesday, November 24, 2009 the bodies of Wilhelm Palabrica, the vehicle’s driver and Mercy Palabrica, one of Tacurong City’s licensing staff were found and had showed signs of torture and multiple gunshot wounds. Wednesday was when the bodies of spouses Eduardo, the city’s licensing section head and Cecil Lechonsito were found buried beneath the Vios which was also dugged up totally wrecked from the mass grave of humans and cars.

As of yesterday November 26, 2009 the body of Daryll delos Reyes, also a licensing staff of the City of Tacurong has yet to be found.

CIU calls justice for the victims of this dastardly act of savagery to helpless and innocent unsuspecting civilians caught in the middle by greedy group of influential people who wields enormous powers and enjoy the blessings of their political patrons from the administration and flex their might in their fiefdom without regard to basic human rights and norms of a humane society.

Government should now exercise its political will with dispatch to punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law without fear or favor and show its sincerity and by example that no one is above the law even if they are the ones instrumental in installing government leaders to their position by delivering the votes during elections.

CIU will be watching the government on what are the steps it will take to address this grossly inappropriate act of senseless killings perpetrated with impunity by politicians that were mandated by its constituents and had sworn to protect them from this kind situation together with the security forces that should also protecting from the bad elements. But in this particular case, it’s the other way around. We do believe that this is just an isolated case and that it can be resolved at the earliest possible time for as long as no one will suppress the truth and that press freedom and liberty will still prevail.

Meanwhile, we will continue to mourn the passing of our dead and pray that justice will be served as swiftly as their lives were taken. Our deepest sympathy and condolences to their bereaved families.

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