The Slideshow/Audio you will see (link below) shows the Ampatuan Clan family ruling over a terrorizedpopulation in a southern island of the Phillipines. Too, it shows the convoyof about 60 people, completely wrecked with bodies mutilated and half-buried on the top of a remote hillside on Maguindanao. The photos taken and the assembly of the slideshow show great courage on the parts of those involved, as reprisals by the Ampatuan Clan might be forthcoming.
Fortunately the brave government of President Gloria Maccapagal Arroyo and the Phillipine Army went into action and captured the head of the Clan, Andai Ampatuan, Sr. and many members of the family. They will be tried in court as much evidence seems to be available to them from eye witness testimony and video footage.The carnage reports must have been all over the Philippine Islands Media over the last two weeks. Unfortunately it took a massacre of 57 people to shake up the government and propel them into action.
Hopefully the success of the government/army's actions will give courage to other governments who face difficult opposition within their countries. Better to use diplomacy and negotiation than military or civilian manpower
Slideshow/Audio of the background of the Mass Killings of 57 people in the Philippines on Nov. 23, 2009.
SHARIFF AGUAK, Philippines Prosecutors drew up additional charges of rebellion Monday against members of a powerful southern clan suspected in the Philippines' worst political massacre, as troops uncovered more hidden weapons.
Civil rights groups were set to challenge at the Supreme Court President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's declaration of martial law in Maguindanao province, which authorized thousands of troops to make arrests without court warrants and crack down on the Ampatuan clan and its private army.
Andal Ampatuan Sr., the clan's patriarch and former governor who has ruled unopposed for years, has been arrested with at least six other family members and about 60 followers on suspicion of planning and carrying out the Nov. 23 killing of 57 people including 30 journalists and their staff traveling in a convoy of a political rival. The Ampatuans have denied involvement.
Ampatuan's son, Andal Ampatuan Jr., who turned himself in last month, is the only one charged with multiple counts of murder. Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera said prosecutors would file murder charges against the other Ampatuans who were arrested over the weekend, as well as additional charges of rebellion for allegedly organizing armed resistance.
Thirty-nine firearms and crates of ammunition were dug up Sunday at a farm believed owned by the Ampatuans near the provincial capital of Shariff Aguak, army Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan said. Other stockpiles, including mortar shells, were retrieved last week outside the Ampatuans' compound. Officials said the weapons, some stamped with Defense Department markings, were enough to arm a battalion.
Army troops and police said they were pursuing about 4,000 armed followers of the Ampatuans, some reportedly massing in eight Maguindanao towns. Security forces sealed off Maguindanao's exit points and mounted checkpoints, police Director Andres Caro said.
Pangilinan told reporters the gunmen were capable of carrying out bombings, arson attacks and abductions.
The Ampatuans are notorious for running a large private army, many of them pro-government militia who are meant to be an auxiliary force to the military and police in battling insurgents and bandits.
The clan helped Arroyo win crucial votes from Maguindanao during 2004 elections, but the administration's party expelled them after the massacre.
Citing a breakdown in law and order and massing up of Ampatuan's supporters, Arroyo on late Friday imposed martial law in Maguindanao the first use of military rule in the Philippines since late dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared it nationwide more than 30 years ago.
Pro-democracy advocates accused her of overreacting, and a group of human rights lawyers argues that there are insufficient grounds for martial law and plan to challenge it in the Supreme Court later Monday.
An Ampatuan ally, Rep. Didagen Dilangalen, filed a separate motion against martial law.
Arroyo sent a report on her martial law declaration to Congress, which will convene Tuesday to approve or reject it. Her allies dominate the lower house.
Associated Press writers Jim Gomez, Teresa Cerojano and Hrvoje Hranjski in Manila contributed to this report.