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Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao

November 23, 2009

Lawyers group condemn massacre of journalists and fellow lawyers

The Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) condemns in the strongest possible
terms the brutal murder of scores of civilians in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in
Maguindanaoin, a bloody start for the 2010 elections. Among the hapless victims were
UPLM treasurer Concepcion "Connie" Brizuela and UPLM member Cynthia Oquendo.

Authorities claimed the victims were reportedly abducted by some 100 armed. They were
accompanying the wife of Buluan Vice Mayor Ishmael "Toto" Mangudadatu , Genalyn,
whose group was on their way to file her husband's certificate of candidacy for
Maguindanao governor at the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak town,

This barbaric mass murder not only indicates the early onset of pre-election violence,
but, also shows that the culture of impunity clearly pervades with the existence of
warlord-maintained private armies that have long been tolerated by the government, past
and present. Considering their proximity to the present occupants of Malacañang, these
warlords, as well as their henchmen, certainly believe that they can get away with cold-
blooded mass murder.

It is doubly condemnable that among the latest victims were journalists and lawyers, who
have been in the line of fire because of their commitment to their respective profession.
Sadly, the names of Atty. Brizuela and Atty. Oquendo will be added to the long list of
victims of extra-judicial killings under the present adminisatration.

The UPLM demands that justice be served on the victims, particularly to our colleauges,
Attys. Brizuela and Oquendo. We demand that the Arroyo administration throws the full
force of the government to bring the perpetrators, regardless of their affiliations, to the
bar of justice.

Atty. Carlos Isagani Zarate

Secretary General