Armed Forces of the Philippines is a proven criminal anti-people organization

FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

In haranguing the Melo commission, AFP chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon talks as if the AFP is a strict adherent to human rights and tries to put the blame on the revolutionary forces for the extrajudicial killings and abductions of legal activists who oppose the Arroyo regime. His talk is diametrically opposite to the evidence and testimonies of surviving victims and the colleagues, immediate relatives and friends of the murdered and disappeared activists, as documented by human rights organizations and fact-finding missions.

FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

In haranguing the Melo commission, AFP chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon talks as if the AFP is a strict adherent to human rights and tries to put the blame on the revolutionary forces for the extrajudicial killings and abductions of legal activists who oppose the Arroyo regime. His talk is diametrically opposite to the evidence and testimonies of surviving victims and the colleagues, immediate relatives and friends of the murdered and disappeared activists, as documented by human rights organizations and fact-finding missions.

We remind General Esperon that the AFP is a proven criminal, anti-people organization. In the human rights case against Marcos in the US, the US judicial system found Marcos liable for using the AFP for more than 14 years to engage in extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and other human rights violations with impunity. These cases, which were nearly 10,000, were proven in the US court and were merely a part of the total number of cases of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.

The regimes succeeding that of Marcos, especially the current Arroyo regime, have used the AFP to engage in human rights violations. These have continued because the ruling system and its armed forces have prevented the prosecution, trial and punishment of the military and police forces liable for human rights violations, except in the case of the assassination of Benigno Aquino. The victims of the human rights violations under the Marcos regime had to go to the US court system to seek justice after the fall of Marcos.

Esperon has been part of that criminal, anti-people organization called the AFP since the early 1970s. He knows many killing fields of the AFP. Shamelessly, he is trying to ascribe these killing fields to the revolutionary forces. It is easy for him to locate and dig up the mass graves made by the AFP. For instance, the Inopacan Valley had been declared a “no-man’s land” by the AFP since the 1980s and was used as the burial ground for the victims of massacre by the AFP.

In the course of carrying out so many campaigns against the revolutionary forces and people since the early 1970s, the AFP has committed massacres on a nationwide scale and thus made so many mass graves. Esperon has been a killing operative of the AFP for so long and a rabid loyalist of Arroyo that he is the least qualified within the AFP to present the AFP as a clean organization that respects human rights.

Renegades who carried out anti-informer campaigns without due process in the revolutionary movement in the period of 1984 to1988 could not be arrested, investigated, tried and punished because they got the protection of the AFP. But even then they were criticized and repudiated and their actions were condemned and rectified by the educational movement called the Second Great Rectification Movement, which ran from 1992 to about 2002.

The number of victims of the renegades ran into a few hundreds in Mindanao and a few scores in other regions. These are of no comparison to the massacres of thousands perpetrated by the AFP under the Marcos, Aquino and Arroyo regimes. It is the AFP that is responsible for so many killing fields and mass graves. And yet under the rule of impunity, the AFP denies responsibility for these and ascribes these to the revolutionary movement.

So many times have AFP officers claimed to have discovered mass graves of the revolutionary movement. What has happened to those claims about mass graves in Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Quezon and so on? The AFP officers clam up after they exhaust the mileage of their false claims and people start to complain about these. No less than Norberto Gonzales, the national security adviser, was caught and exposed as a liar by Governor Zubiri when Gonzales prated about mass graves of the revolutionary movement in Bukidnon.

The mass graves being hyped by the AFP as those of victims of the revolutionary movement are of several categories: 1. mass graves of massacre victims of the AFP since the time of Marcos, 2. old abandoned cemeteries often more than two or three decades old, 3. graves of indigenous people and 4. graves of people killed by epidemics and landslides. The AFP has also collected skeletal remains, especially skulls and has moved these around for propaganda attacks against the NPA.

General Esperon and his psywar underlings have been jubilantly proclaiming the so-called mass grave in the Inopacan Valley in Southern Leyte as a mass grave of the NPA. But they have immediately exposed themselves as liars by claiming that Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Luis Jalandoni and Satur Ocampo co-signed in 1984 the supposed order to kill people in Inopacan Valley or thereabouts.

Rodolfo Salas was then the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1984 and Prof. Sison was in solitary confinement in the Military Security Unit compound. Satur Ocampo was also under military detention in Bicutan. Jalandoni had been a political refugee in Europe since 1976. General Esperon, his bosses and his underlings should be ashamed of their lies.

The Arroyo regime and its military and police loyalists are so desperate in trying to muddle as well as draw people’s attention away from the current issue of 752 victims of extrajudicial killings and 185 victims of forced disappearances. They are extremely careless in handling facts and their patent lies. They are carried away by their arrogance and contempt for the people.

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