Malacañang has guaranteed the safety of former President Benigno Aquino and other government officials and persons who had been ordered arrested by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) over the deadly dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato last year.
In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said since the Philippines has only one government and one justice system, “only the appropriate body can rule on the issue of the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan.”
He also said security measures are in place “to guarantee the protection of the former President and other personalities mentioned by the announcement of the National Democratic Front.”
The NDFP had made public over the weekend its “indictment” of Aquino, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Hernando Delfin Iriberri, former Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Ricardo Marquez, former Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) commander Major General Rey Guerrero, former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, and other officials.
(Read the full text of the NDFP’s Kidapawan Massacre Indictment.)
The indictment was for “war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”
The indictment prescribed the arrest of Aquino and the others, who will be subjected to trial by a People’s Court and “meted out with appropriate penalties for
having committed… acts constituting war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law.”
The incident, dubbed the Kidapawan Massacre, sprang from a blockade of the Davao-Cotabato Highway launched by thousands of farmers on March 30, 2016. They were demanding the release of 15,000 sacks of rice as food assistance due to the drought brought on by El Niño.
Prior to the blockade, the farmers were protesting in front of the National Food Authority (NFA) office in Kidapawan to air their grievances.
On April 1, 2016, police violently dispersed the farmers. Three people were killed and a total of 116 were injured on both sides.