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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Mendiola Massacre of January 22, 1987 under the administration of President Corazon Aquino



The Mendiola Massacre of January 22, 1987 under the administration of President Corazon Aquino
Government forces under President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino opened fire at a peasant group members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas ("Peasants' Movement of the Philippines") calling for Genuine Land Reform on January 22, 1987 at Mendiola bridge, Manila. The event dubbed as the Mendiola Massacre (also called the Black Thursday by some) killed 13 peasant activists and wounding 74 others (39 peasants sustained gunshot wounds, 12 peasants sustained minor injuries, 3 police/military personnel sustained gunshot wounds, 20 sustained minor injuries).

January 1987. The administration of Corazon C. Aquino had been in power less than a year since the ouster Ferdinand E. Marcos as President of the Philippines. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, a militant farmers' group led by Jaime Tadeo, demanded genuine agrarian reform from the Aquino government.

On January 15, 1987, members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas encamped at the Ministry of Agrarian Reform in Diliman, Quezon City. The group presented their problems and demands, one of which was the free distribution of land to farmers. Dialogue between the farmers, represented by Jaime Tadeo, and the government, represented by then Agrarian Reform minister Heherson Alvarez took place on January 20, 1987. Alvarez promised to bring the matter to the President's attention during the next day's cabinet meeting. The farmers barricaded the Ministry of Agrarian Reform offices on January 21, 1987 and prevented government employees from exiting the building. A negotiating panel was to be assembled the following day for further talks.

On January 22, 1987, the farmers decided to march to Malacañang Palace in order to air their demands instead of negotiating with Heherson Alvarez. Marching from the Quezon Memorial Circle, Tadeo's group was joined by members of other militant groups: Kilusang Mayo Uno (May One Movement), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance), League of Filipino Students and Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (Unity Congress of the Urban Poor). At 1:00 in the afternoon, the marchers reached Liwasang Bonifacio and held a brief presentation. At around the same time, anti-riot personnel under the command of Capital Regional Command commander Gen. Ramon Montaño, Task Force Nazareno under the command of Col. Cesar Nazareno and police forces under the command of Western Police District Chief Brig. Gen. Alfredo Lim were deployed around the vicinity of Malacañang.


(Video footage of the incident)
The first line of civil disturbance control units consisted of policemen from the Western Police District. About ten yards behind the policemen were Integrated National Police Field Force units. The third line, a further ten yards from the second police line, consisted of a Philippine Marine Corps unit, the Marine Civil Disturbance Control Battalion. Positioned behind the Marines were army trucks, water cannons, fire trucks and two Mobile Dispersal Teams equipped with tear gas delivery gear.

The marchers numbered 10,000–15,000 by the time they reached Recto Avenue. They clashed with the police, and the police lines were breached. At this point, gunshots were heard and the marchers disengaged from the melee, retreating towards Claro M. Recto Avenue. Sporadic gunfire could be heard amidst the withdrawal.

General Lim claimed the Marines were responsible for the shooting.

The 13 killed were:
  1. Danilo Arjona
  2. Leopoldo Alonzo
  3. Adelfa Aribe
  4. Dionisio Bautista
  5. Roberto Caylao
  6. Vicente Campomanes
  7. Ronilo Dumanico
  8. Dante Evangelio
  9. Angelito Gutierrez
  10. Rodrigo Grampan
  11. Bernabe Laquindanum
  12. Sonny Boy Perez
  13. Roberto Yumul
The Citizens' Mendiola Commission, created immediately after the incident, recommended the filing of criminal charges against all those responsible. A class suit was filed by the families of the victims against government officials involved but were dismissed in 1988 by the Manila Regional Trial Court. The Supreme Court upheld this decision in 1993 saying that the government has immunity from suit.

As of March 2016, the families of the victims and survivors has yet to get justice.

https://kahimyang.com/kauswagan/general-blogs/1732/the-mendiola-massacre-of-january-22-1987-under-the-administration-of-president-corazon-aquino

Sources:

  1. The Mediola Massacre: What happend according to Jurisprudence (http://jlp-law.com/)
  2. Mendiola Masscre (http://www.gmanetwork.com)
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Supreme Court Decision in March 1993
  5. Video: Youtube

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