Nov 26, 2009
On the morning of November 23 2009, representatives of Esmael Mangudadatu - vice mayor of Maguindanao, Mindanao in the Philippines - were reported missing after contact with the convoy was lost. Later that day in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, a mass grave containing the bodies of the convoy's members was found. Among the them were 12 journalists, Mangudadatu's wife and 2 sisters, lawyers and aides. As of November 25, 2009, 57 bodies have been uncovered in what has been dubbed as one of the most brutal politically-motivated killings in Philippine history, and has led Reporters Without Borders to dub this incident as a "dark day for press freedom". At this time, Maguindanao governor Datu Andal Ampatuan - a close ally of incumbent president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and whom Mangudadatu is running against in the 2010 Philippine Elections - is alleged to have some part in the commission of the massacre but has yet to release a statement denying his or his clan's involvement in the case.