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RAMONITA S. SALAYSAY, ZENAIDA O. DUHAY, JULIET PALOR EVARDO, MA. CIPRIANA GATCHALIAN, ARLYN D. LUPOGAN, CATHERINE NUÑEZ, EDITHA MIRANDILLA TIAMZON, ERLYN IDALO UMPAD (FOR AND ON BEHALF OF HER MINOR CHILD JAPHET ELDIAN UMPAD ARRIOLA), MA. REYNAFE MOMAY-CASTILLO, NOEMI E. PARCON, GLENNA G. LEGARTA, MARY JEAN M. MERISCO, AND STEPHANIE LECHONSITO, Plaintiffs, - versus GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, Defendant. x--------------------------------x
Civil Case No. __________ For: Damages
Here, Denise, they don't Chop off heads by the day They just waylay you On some lonely byway Or highway As the case may be Whether you're alone Or with A convoy of journalists Meant to protect your Filing of candidacy. One, two, fifty killed Numbers don't matter It's the principle that counts: The principle of power Over people Of family Over fold. We know No other life We are the walking dead Straddling the centuries Without remorse Shouting ourselves hoarse: Producing nothing.1
Plaintiffs, by counsel, most respectfully state that:
I. PARTIES The Plaintiffs are: 1) RAMONITA S. SALAYSAY, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and wife of the slain NAPOLEON SALAYSAY, who worked as a journalist for Mindanao Gazette in Cotabato City. 2) ZENAIDA O. DUHAY, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and the wife of the slain JHOY DUHAY who worked as a journalist for Goldstar Daily in Cagayan De Oro City.
Mila D. Aguilar,Answering Denise Levertov (November 24, 2009). Perhaps the first poem ever to be composed in response to the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre, which took place just a day before it was written. It also appeared in the poetry selection, The Maguindanao Massacre: An Anthology of Rage in Verse: 100 Poems, 100 Filipino Poets, One Voice (Joel Pablo Salud, ed., 2010)
3) JULIET PALOR EVARDO, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and mother of the slain JULITO EVARDO, who worked as a journalist for UNTV in General Santos City. 4) MA. CIPRIANA GATCHALIAN, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and is the wife of the slain SANTOS “JUN” P. GATCHALIAN, JR. who worked as a journalist for Metro Gazette in Davao City. 5) GLENNA G. LEGARTA, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and wife of the slain BIENVENIDO LEGARTA, who worked as a journalist for Periodico Ini in Koronadal City. 6) ARLYN D. LUPOGAN, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and wife of the slain LINDO T. LUPOGAN, who worked as a journalist for Metro Gazette in Davao City. 7) MARY JEAN M. MERISCO, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and is the wife of the slain REY MERISCO, who worked as a journalist for for Periodico Ini in Koronadal City. 8) CATHERINE NUÑEZ, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and mother of the slain VICTOR NUÑEZ, who worked as a journalist for UNTV in General Santos City. 9) NOEMI E. PARCON, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and wife of the slain JOEL V. PARCON, who worked as a journalist for Prontiera News in Koronadal City. 10) EDITHA MIRANDILLA TIAMZON, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and wife of the slain DANIEL BECOLLADO TIAMZON, who worked as a crew for UNTV in General Santos City. 11) ERLYN IDALO UMPAD, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and live-in partner of the slain McDELBERT ARRIOLA, who worked as a journalist for UNTV in General Santos City. She is filing this Complaint for and in behalf of her minor child with McDELBERT ARRIOLA, namely JAPHET ELDIAN UMPAD ARRIOLA. 12) MA. REYNAFE MOMAY- CASTILLO, is of legal age, Filipino citizen, and daughter of the slain REYNALDO “Bebot” MOMAY, who worked as a journalist for Midland Review in Tacurong City. Reynaldo “Bebot” MOMAY was one of the journalists murdered in the 23 November 2009 Maguindanao massacre, and whose body is still missing.
13) STEPHANIE LECHONSITO, of legal age, single, Filipino citizen and daughter of slain couple CECILLE AND EDUARDO LECHONSITO, who were just passers-by when the ill-fated convoy described below was waylaid by armed men. 14) All the Plaintiffs may be served with pertinent papers, processes, and notices through their undersigned counsel, Roque and Butuyan Law Offices, at Unit 1904 Antel 2000 Corporate Centre, 121 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Defendant: 15) The lone Defendant is GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, Filipino, of legal age, and the sitting President and Commander-in Chief of the Republic of the Philippines when the 23 November 2009 Maguindanao massacre took place. She may be served with pertinent papers, processes, and notices at her last known residence at No. 14, Badjao Street, La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City.
II. FACTS COMMON TO ALL CAUSES OF ACTION 16) During the 2004 Presidential elections, Defendant was caught on tape talking with election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano asking the latter to ensure that she wins by one million votes. 17) The commissioner mentioned Maguindanao, ruled by the Ampatuans, as a vote-rich region that will ensure that she will win by said number of votes. The taped conversation between them would be known as the “Hello Garci” scandal. 18) The Ampatuans – many of whom would be implicated in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre from which this case arises – lorded it over the nation and by all indications delivered the votes that allowed Defendant a wide margin over her closest rival, the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr. 19) On 30 June 2004, Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath of office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of the Philippines.
20) 14 July 2006, Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 546 (“EO 546”), therein authorizing the Philippine National Police (PNP)—subject to the concurrence of the appropriate Local Chief Executive through the Local Peace and Order Council-- to deputize the barangay tanods as force multipliers in the implementation of the peace and order plan in the area. 21) In EO 546, Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo also ordered the governors and mayors, as inter alia, deputized representatives of the National Police Commission in their respective territorial jurisdiction, to ensure that sufficient funds shall be appropriated in their annual budget for the operational and logistical support of the concerned PNP units for the implementation of this Executive Order (a copy of EO 546 is attached as ANNEX A). 22) By issuing EO 546, Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo consequently legalized the private army of the Ampatuans, and under the same Order she issued, government arms and ammunition were issued to the Ampatuans, which made them dangerous. 23) Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration armed the Ampatuans against the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the region, granting the clan much leeway to establish its own paramilitary units. 24) On 23 November 2009, Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu (hereinafter “Vice Mayor Mangudadatu”)was scheduled to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the forthcoming Philippine May 2010 elections before the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao, Philippines, for the position of Governor of Maguindanao. 25) In order to cover the supposedly landmark filing of the COC, thirty two (32) journalists and media workers from all over Mindanao were invited to join the convoy to Shariff Aguak town, which included the loved ones of all of the Plaintiffs in this suit, save one. 26) Between 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM of that fateful day, Buluan town Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” G. Mangudadatu (hereinafter “Vice Mayor Mangudadatu”), requested by phone Col. Medardo Geslani (hereinafter “ Col. Geslani”), Commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade, for security escorts. Vice Mayor Mangudadatu explained thoroughly to the official the verified information he received on a possible ambush against the convoy, the heated political atmosphere in the province of Maguindanao, and the overwhelming support the military and police have been extending to the Ampatuans.
27) Vice Mayor Mangudadatu security escorts several times.
made these requests for
28) Nevertheless, according to Vice Mayor Mangudadatu, Col. Geslani of the 601st Infantry Brigade refused to provide even a single military personnel.2 At that time, the Army officer commanded an Army unit which has immediate jurisdiction over Ampatuan town. 29) At this point, Vice Mayor Mangudadatu realized that the officer had no plans of ever providing security to the Vice Mayor’s representatives.3 30) Journalists on the convoy also called the commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, which has responsibility over the entire province of Maguindanao, for security. 31) In order to ease the tension between the Mangudadatus and the Ampatuans, Vice Mayor Mangudadatu decided to send his wife, two sisters, aunt and two female lawyers in the belief that their womanhood will be respected. 32) So Vice Mayor Mangudadatu sent an all-woman lead team and the journalists, the Vice Mayor reasoning that “Under our tradition, Muslim women are being respected. They should not be harmed just like innocent children and the elders.”4 33) (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) The Mangudadatu women who were in the convoy were: Bai Genalin Mangudadatu (his wife); Bai Eden Mangudadatu (his sister); Bai Farina Mangudadatu (his sister); Bai Rowena Mangudadatu (his aunt); Atty. Cynthia Oquendo-Ayon (his lawyer); and Atty. Connie Brizuela (his lawyer).
34) The convoy of Vice Mayor Mangudadatu was composed of six (6) vehicles: (a)
4 Toyota Grandia vans (one grey, one green, and two white); and
Based on Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” G. Mangudadatu’s Affidavit Complaint dated 30 November 2009 (Attached as ANNEX B). 3 Based on Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” G. Mangudadatu’s Affidavit Complaint dated 30 November 2009. 4 Based on http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091126238432/Massacre-planned-says-Buluan-vice-mayor.
2 two media vehicles – a Pajero owned by a DZRH broadcast journalist and a Mitsubishi L-300 van owned by UNTV.
There was a seventh vehicle, a Grandia boarded by mediamen, but it lagged behind and decided to turn around once the passengers sensed something was wrong. 35) Two (2) other vehicles were not part of the Mangudadatu convoy but happened to be traveling on the same highway: (a) (b) a red Toyota Vios; and a light blue Toyota Tamaraw FX.
36) The Vios had five (5) passengers: Eduardo Lechonsito, a government employee who was bound for a hospital in Cotabato City after suffering a mild stroke Monday morning. He was with his wife Cecille, co-workers Mercy Palabrica and Daryll delos Reyes, and driver Wilhelm Palabrica. The FX was driven by Anthony Ridao, employee of the National Statistics Coordination Board, and son of Cotabato City councilor Marino Ridao. 37) The Mangudadatu convoy, along with the Vios and Toyota Tamaraw FX, was intercepted in Ampatuan, Maguindanao by more than a hundred (100) armed men. Everyone in the convoy was brought to a nearby killing field in a hilly area of Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province, the Philippines. 38) There, the perpetratored mercilessly killed the victims.
39) At least fifty-eight (58) women and men were brutally murdered by the perpetrators at the massacre scene. Amongst the victims of the carnage were ALL of the 32 journalists and media workers who joined the Magundadatu convoy. 40) Of 32 journalists and media workers, twelve (12) are represented by their respective heirs in this Complaint, namely: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) McDELBERT ARRIOLA (for UNTV in General Santos City); JHOY DUHAY (for Goldstar Daily in Cagayan De Oro City); JULITO EVARDO (for UNTV in General Santos City); SANTOS “JUN” P. GATCHALIAN, JR. (for Metro Gazette in Davao City); BIENVENIDO LEGARTA (for Periodico Ini in Koronadal City); LINDO T. LUPOGAN (for Metro Gazette in Davao City);
(g) (h) (i) (j) (k) (l)
REY MERISCO (for Periodico Ini in Koronadal City); VICTOR NUÑEZ (for UNTV in General Santos City); JOEL V. PARCON (for Prontiera News in Koronadal City); NAPOLEON SALAYSAY (for Clearview Gazette in Cotabato City); and DANIEL BECOLLADO TIAMZON (for UNTV in General Santos City). REYNALDO “Bebot” MOMAY (for Midland Review in Tacurong City) who is still missing but is presumed dead, based on available forensic evidence.
41) Two other victims represented on the suit are the slain couple Cecille and Eduarto Lechonsito of Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, whose daughter Stephanie Lechonsito sues as a plaintiff in this case. 42) Indeed, various members of the Ampatuan clan, which includes two governors and several mayors, have been pointed to by witnesses as masterminds and direct participants in the mass murder. 43) They were allegedly part of a conspiracy in which the leading figures were former governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and Mayor Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. 44) Paradoxically, both the Mangudadatus and the Ampatuans are close allies of Defendant and belong to the same ruling party, the Lakas-NUCD-CMD. However, it is to the Ampatuans that Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo is heavily indebted. 45) In fact, key members of Defendant’s administration, including her Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, had tried to dissuade Magundadatu from running against the Ampatuans, warning him of the clan’s violent tendencies. 46) Teodoro and other known close associates of Defendant knew the dangers the Ampatuans posed to the Mangudadatus. They could do no more than warn the latter, 47) In the end, it was the key members of the Ampatuan political clan who are local chief executives of various LGUs in Maguindanao who would be involved in the planning, staging, and execution of the gruesome massacre. 48) And they carried it out using weapons, ammunition and other resources provided to them by Defendant.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo aided and abetted the murderous Ampatuans and their private armies which eventually resulted in the Maguindanao massacre that killed 58 people in one fell swoop. 49) Specifically, Defendant issued EO 546 which both legalized and armed the private army of the Ampatuans. It was a classic case of paying back political debts. 50) The Mangudadatus – also Defendant’s political ally but close political rival of the Ampatuans for political control in Maguindanao – repeatedly asked for Defendant’s intervention to stop the latter from their murderous plans. Nevertheless, Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo turned a deaf ear to their pleas. 51) Members of her cabinet knew of the dangers posed by the Ampatuans to the Mangudadatus. This could not have passed her notice. Yet neither she nor her cabinet members in the know made a decisive move to stop the Ampatuans. 52) The Ampatuans used government-issued arms and their government-armed private militia to carry out the massacre. 53) By her aiding and abetting the Ampatuans, Defendant – a public officer – directly or indirectly obstructed defeated, violated and impaired the following rights and liberties of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre: (a) Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a periodical publication; (b) The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures; (c) The right to life. 54) These acts and omissions of Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo violated Article 32 of the Civil Code, which deals
with damages for breaches of citizens’ constitutional rights—to the damage and prejudice of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and herein Plaintiffs.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo refused, without just cause, to perform her sworn duty as President—to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed in Maguindanao – to the prejudice of Plaintiffs. 55) Defendant knew or ought to know that the Ampatuans committed numerous human rights abuses in Maguindanao. 56) Various persons and organizations informed Defendant about the various human rights abuses and the killings committed by the Ampatuans. 57) Nevertheless, Defendant did not investigate nor prosecute the Ampatuans for their human rights abuses. Worse, Defendant refused to investigate or prosecute the Ampatuans for their human rights abuses. 58) Hence, Defendant refused, without just cause, to perform, or failed to perform by gross negligence, her official duty as President—to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed in Maguindanao. 59) Defendant’s refusal to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed in Maguindanao encouraged the culture of impunity perpetrated by the Ampatuans, leading to the Maguindanao massacre and causing damages to the heirs of the victims. 60) Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo’s acts and omissions violated Article 27 of the Civil Code and Article VII, Sec. 7 of the 1987 Constitution-- to the damage and prejudice of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and herein Plaintiffs.
THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION
Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo is civilly liable for the Maguindanao massacre under the doctrine of command responsibility as Commander-in Chief
61) Militiamen and officers and members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the direct control of the Ampatuans were among the perpetrators. In addition, officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were also complicit in the carnage. 62) Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, has general supervision over these officials of Philippine LGUs. 63) Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, has supervision, control and command responsibility over officers and members of the PNP who were among the perpetrators of the Ampatuan Massacre. 64) Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as Commander-InChief of the AFP, has supervision, control and command responsibility over members of the militia who were among the perpetrators of the Ampatuan Massacre. 65) Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as Commander-InChief of the AFP, has supervision, control and command responsibility over officers of the Philippine Army who refused to give security to the Mangudadatu convoy heading to Shariff Aguak. 66) Defendant knew or ought to have known the human rights violations being committed by the Ampatuans since 2002. 67) Defendant did nothing about it, despite the fact that all the Accused are agents of the state. 68) Instead she cultivated ties with the Ampatuans, who would prove indispensable to her continued hold on political power. 69) The Mangudadatus even sought the help of then Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and other Presidential Palace officials knew of the violent nature of the Ampatuans; these officials, who are all her charges, failed to stop the Ampatuans from bullying their political rivals in Maguindanao, the Magundadatus. 70) There was urgency in the situation that she failed to address, considering that: she had legalized the private army of the Ampatuans under EO 546 and under the same Order she issued,
government arms and ammunition were issued to the Ampatuans, which made them dangerous. 71) Key PNP and AFP officials, when asked by Magundadatu convey for security escorts, refused to do so. VI. PRAYER COMMON TO ALL CAUSES OF ACTION the
72) Each Plaintiff suffered moral damages in the amount of not less than FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Php 500,000.00) for EACH loved one lost by reason of Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo’s acts and omissions that resulted in the carnage of the the Maguindanao massacre—to the damage and prejudice of herein Plaintiffs. 73) Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo should be made to pay to each Plaintiff the amount of not less than FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Php 500,000.00)for EACH loved one lost as exemplary damages, by way of example or correction for the public good. 74) The Plaintiffs were constrained to engage the services of counsel for purposes of the instant case and by reason thereof it incurred and stands to further incur attorney’s fees in the amount of not less than FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Php 500,000.00), and which amount the Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo should be made to pay. PRAYER WHEREFORE, premises considered, Plaintiffs respectfully pray that, after notice and hearing, this Honorable Court render judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs and against the Defendant, as follows: a) Ordering Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo to pay to each Plaintiff moral damages in the amount of not less than FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Php 500,000.00); b) Ordering Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo to pay to each Plaintiff exemplary damages in the amount of not less than FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Php 500,000.00); and Ordering Defendant Macapagal-Arroyo to pay to Plaintiffs attorney’s fees in the amount of not less than ONE MILLION PESOS (Php 1,000,000.00).
Plaintiffs pray for other just and equitable relief. Makati City for Quezon City, 22 November 2011. by the Counsel for Plaintiffs: ROQUE & BUTUYAN LAW OFFICES 1904 Antel 2000 Corporate Center 121 Valero Street, Salcedo Village Makati City 1200 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. Nos. 887-4445/887-3894 Fax No: 887-3893
H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR. PTR No.2644123 /Jan 04, 2011/Makati City IBP No. 499912/Lifetime/Makati City Roll No. 36976 MCLE Exemption No. III-001000 (issued on 26 April 2010)
JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN PTR No. 2644124/Jan 04, 2011/Makati City IBP No. 500459/ Lifetime/Makati City Roll No. 36911 MCLE Compliance No. III-0014767 (issued on 14 April 2010) ROMEL REGALADO BAGARES PTR No. 2644126 /Jan 04, 2011/Makati City IBP No. 844597/Jan 04, 2011/South Cotabato Roll No. 49518 MCLE Compliance No. III-0017855 (issued on 08 July 2010) GILBERT TERUEL ANDRES PTR No. 2644128 /Jan 04, 2011/Makati City IBP No. 844598 / Jan 04, 2011/Negros Occ. Roll No. 56911 MCLE Compliance No. III-0013698 (issued on 22 April 2010)