#AnimateED: Maguindanao massacre: ARMM’s bloody legacy
Few may have noticed but we had just commemorated two historical events, days apart from each other, that are pivotal to Muslim Mindanao.
Twenty-five years ago, on November 19, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was formed to respond to the Muslim rebels’ aspirations to run their own affairs and be liberated from the stifling dictates of Manila.
On November 23, five years ago, the worst election-related violence in Philippine history took place in the cradle of ARMM. Fifty-eight people were killed, in the full light of day, as they were on their way to register the candidacy of a political rival of the Ampatuans, the powerful clan that had lorded Maguindanao for close to a decade.
As ARMM fades out to give way to the Bangsamoro—the result of a government peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—it leaves a bloody legacy that will haunt the new autonomous entity for a long time. When the Bangsamoro will be in place, after Congress passes a law and after a plebiscite is held, it will inherit a broken political system where dynasties are entrenched—the Ampatuans are only one of many—and violence is grafted onto elections.
The other part of this narrative is the glacial pace at which the trial has been going on. Despite thrice-a-week hearings and help from the Supreme Court, the 5-year old case has yet to be resolved.
At this stage, 87 suspects are still at large. Those in custody have reached a total of 110. Witnesses fear for their lives and justifiably so. A key witness set to testify against the Ampatuans, the alleged perpetrators, was recently killed.
We await major convictions which are expected to be handed down before President Benigno Aquino III steps down in 2016. But even if these happened, the scars of impunity left by these mass killings are too deep for the incoming Bangsamoro to wash over. - Rappler.com