Without pinpointing culpability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Aquino's call for military to prioritize human rights is meaningless — CPP
By CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today dismissed as meaningless Pres. Benigno Aquino III's call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to give priority to respecting human rights, while stating in the same breath that the spate of extrajudicial killings of social activists in the country is just the result of "personal feuds".
The CPP said such exculpation will only frustrate the quest for justice in the killings. "It trifles the issue and immediately absolves the state and responsible government, military and security officials."
Yesterday, Aquino insisted that extrajudicial killings are not a result of state policy, saying that many of the cases were personally motivated. Since 2001, there have been at least 1,000 cases of extrajudicial killings which systematically targeted leaders, members and supporters of progressive organizations, and other serious critics of the government and ruling system. At least 600 of those cases involve the killing of peasant activists demanding land reform.
"The way he dismisses the issue," said the CPP, "Aquino seems not to not to have read or comprehend the report prepared by Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Philip Alston which clearly points to the military as the perpetrator of the killings in accordance with policies of the ruling state and orders from those in authority." Alston submitted the report in 2007 to the United Nations Human Rights Commission after making a six-month investigation into extrajudicial killings in the country since 2001.
The report clearly attributed extrajudicial killings since 2001 to "the military's counterinsurgency strategy against the CPP/NPA/NDF (that) increasingly focuses on dismantling civil society organizations… purported to be 'CPP front groups.'" The report also found fault in the failure of the government's criminal justice system, especially its "distortion of priorities that has law enforcement officials focused on prosecuting civil society leaders rather than their killers."
The Alston Report pinpointed the puppet reactionary state's allout war against the revolutionary forces and its fascist and antipeople counterinsurgency policy and campaign as the reason behind the widespread trampling of the people's democratic and human rights.
The CPP further cited Alston's charge that the government military was "in denial" in its insistence on blaming the victims themselves through its claims of "internal purges" and "personal feuds" for the killings. Alston identified this as a stumbling block to the pursuit of justice and the prosecution of those responsible for the extrajudicial killings and other gross human rights violations.
"Now, Aquino himself is also in denial," said the CPP.
Aquino's exculpation of the military "is setting the stage for a coverup of grand proportions", said the CPP. "The fascist masterminds of these killings, including Gloria Arroyo, her top military and security officials, those now in command, and their US advisers, are being let off the hook."
"Aquino is even now showing how dependent and afraid he is of the military forces under his jurisdiction. He worries that if he were to seriously pursue the demand for justice for the victims of gross human rights violations, he will be on a collision course with the AFP. He will thus be incapable of pursuing justice for the more than one thousand victims of extrajudicial killings in the past, and the growing number of victims under his rule," added the CPP.
Since Aquino's assumption into office, at least four more activists have become victims of extrajudicial killings. On July 11, two members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Mark Francisco, 27, and Edgar Fernandez, 44, were ambushed and killed by gunmen wearing camouflage fatigues and ski masks in separate incidents in Masbate. On the same day, peasant activist Pascual Guevarra, 78, a member of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), was shot dead inside the Fort Magsaysay military reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija. On July 5, Fernando Baldomero, 61, a Bayan Muna provincial coordinator was killed in in his home in Lezo, Aklan.
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