The Philippine Daily Inquirer published the other day (December 1, 2009) my very strong condemnation of the Maguindanao massacre. Among the hapless and innocent victims of the murderous and shameful incident were two lady lawyers and 30 journalists. I have emailed the said item to the members of the Las Pinas City Bar Association (LPBA), Inc.. (I am the 2001 founder and the 2009-2010 board consultant of the association). I wish to share with the visitors of this blog the full text of the said letter to the editor, as published. See the item below.
Letter to the LPBA Lawyers:
May I share to my fellow lawyers in the Las Pinas City Bar Association (LPBA), Inc. my letter to the editors of the Philippine Daily Inquirer which the said national daily published on December 1, 2009 in re: the murder of two lady lawyers during the shameful and infamous Maguindanao massacre. Feel free to circulate this item to our brothers and sisters in the legal profession here and abroad as a united expression of our strong condemnation of the comatose state of the rule of law in our country which threatens not only its justice system but the very concept and foundation of republicanism and democracy.
Atty. Manny Laserna Jr.
Las Pinas City Bar Association
Letter to the Editors
Of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
RP officials deserve global humiliation
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:18:00 12/01/2009
As a lawyer myself, I grieve for the two lady lawyers—Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela, 56, and Cynthia Oquendo, 35—who were among the 57 victims (as of press time) of the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre. Also killed were around 30 media practitioners. The rest of the victims belonged to the political camp of Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan town, who is running for governor to challenge the Ampatuan political dynasty in Maguindanao, or were mere passers-by who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. The Ampatuans are affiliated with the political party of President Macapagal-Arroyo.
Independent-minded and courageous, the two lady lawyers were advocates of alternative lawyering and human rights. They were also active pro bono officers of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM), a local voluntary bar association known for its public interest advocacy.
When a republican country, as the Philippines is, directly or indirectly abets the killing of lawyers and journalists for selfish political or economic reasons, its much-cherished democratic system is doomed. A civil war is not farfetched.
The Maguindanao massacre will go down in the history of international media as the worst ever killing of journalists in one incident. These past days, it has been occupying the front pages and the headlines of major dailies and television channels all over the world. It is one of the worst black eyes on the battered face of Philippine democracy today, negating whatever positive points Manny Pacquiao and Efren Peñaflorida (CNN Hero of the Year) recently earned for our country.
The United Nations, the European Union and world media organizations have issued very strong statements condemning the Maguindanao massacre. Indeed, the whole world should unite to condemn the massacre—to teach a lesson to our useless and corrupt Filipino political leaders and to our top military and police officers, by exposing them to global humiliation.
Humiliation is the best way to teach thieves and pirates, disguised as public officials in expensive coats or in shining military uniforms, decent conduct.
—MANUEL J. LASERNA JR.,