Peasants call for reopening of Mendiola Massacre case

7 February 2012

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More than 2,000 peasants rallied in Mendiola, Manila on January 22 to commemorate a bloody massacre 25 years ago and demand a reopening of the case.

Among those calling for a reopening of the case is the mother of one of the victims of the infamous Mendiola Massacre, which occurred when thousands of peasants were fired upon on January 22, 1987 by armed minions of the regime then headed by Corazon Aquino, the current president's mother.

Thirteen peasants were killed--Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonso, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampon, Bernabe Loquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul. More than 100 others were wounded when elements of the Western Police District (WPD), Integrated National Police and Philippine Marines opened fire.

On March 19, 1993, the Supreme Court cleared the Aquino government of any culpability for the massacre. Nonetheless, the court ordered the payment of damages to the victims and recommended filing charges against the perpetrators. But the court's orders were never implemented by the Aquino government or any other succeeding administration.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary-general Danilo Ramos said they intend to file a petition before the Supreme Court to ask that the Mendiola Massacre case be opened.

The peasants held a dialogue on this matter last year with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. De Lima then directed the Task Force on Extrajudicial Killings to study whether there was a basis to reopen the case. The peasants are still awaiting action from the Department of Justice.