NDFP Human Rights Committee spurns Arroyo-created Commission

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

The so-called independent commission created by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to investigate the extra-judicial killings and abduction of legal activists and suspected revolutionaries and make recommendations is nothing but a whitewashing machine for the Arroyo regime, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and their death squads. It is another vicious psywar device to besmirch the memory of the victims and blame the revolutionary movement for the crimes, as already being maliciously done by Task Force Usig.

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

The so-called independent commission created by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to investigate the extra-judicial killings and abduction of legal activists and suspected revolutionaries and make recommendations is nothing but a whitewashing machine for the Arroyo regime, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and their death squads. It is another vicious psywar device to besmirch the memory of the victims and blame the revolutionary movement for the crimes, as already being maliciously done by Task Force Usig.

The commission is composed of long time loyalists of the Macapagal and Arroyo families, appointees and subordinates of Mrs. Arroyo. Former supreme court justice Jose Melo is a long time factotum of the Macapagal family since the time of Diosdado Macapagal. Chief state prosecutor Jovencito Zuño of the department of justice (DOJ) and national bureau of investigator (NBI) director Nestor Mantaring are subalterns of DOJ secretary Raul Gonzalez and are expected to follow his rabid counterrevolutionary witch-hunting. Nelia T. Gonzalez is a known Arroyo loyalist appointed to the University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents (BOR) and the constitutional commission of pro-Arroyo Jose Abueva to ensure that the interests and concerns of the Arroyo regime are advanced and protected in these bodies.

What seems to be the sole exception as a decorative figure is Bishop Camilo Gregorio. He is in fact an ultra-conservative notorious for his antipathy towards the legal progressive movement and towards the social action programs fostered by Bishop Antonio Fortich, who was his predecessor as bishop of the diocese of Bacolod. He resigned from the position of bishop of the Bacolod diocese under pressure by the people for his alienation from them, his arrogance and scandalous indiscretions. Indeed, the most telling fact about the commission is that none of its members is known to be a human rights defender.

The so-called Melo commission is a desperate attempt by the Arroyo regime to counter the findings and truth exposed by Filipino and international human rights organizations and fact-finding missions, holding the regime responsible for the spate of killings and abductions and the climate of impunity for continuing human rights violations on the basis of evidence and the testimonies of witnesses and the relatives of the victims.

Since 2002, Rep. Satur Ocampo has on eight different occasions, brought to the attention of Mrs. Arroyo the killing of local activists and leaders of Bayan Muna but she has always refused to take action against her own minions and has even promoted and rewarded those in the military and police accused of systematic human rights violations such as Generals Jovito Palparan, Romeo Tolentino and Pedro Cabuay.

Since 2002, Mrs. Arroyo, Eduardo Ermita and Norberto Gonzales and other officials of the cabinet oversight committee for internal security (COC-IS) and the so-called anti-terrorism task force have long boasted to certain foreign governments and to the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that Oplan Bantay Laya would destroy both the guerrilla fronts and the local progressive organizations unless the NDFP capitulate in the peace negotiations. Former Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) negotiating panel chairperson Silvestre Bello III has even publicly admitted recently that the political killings and abductions are meant to strengthen the negotiating position of the GRP vis-à-vis the NDFP.

The so-called Melo commission has no objective but to cover up and whitewash the culpability of the Arroyo regime. It is a superfluity relative to the GRP’s own Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which is supposed to be a constitutionally independent body created in 1987. The CHR has found the GRP responsible for not being able to stop the political killings and for allowing these to be committed with impunity.

Mrs. Arroyo’s newly-invented commission is intended to erect a false façade before world public opinion and the human rights organizations and human rights agencies of the United Nations (UN). It seeks to counter and negate the findings of Filipino and international human rights groups, including the GRP’s own CHR and Amnesty International, and to block the investigative work of the human rights agencies of the UN and the proposal of the NDFP to hold joint investigations by the independent observers in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) and three independent nominees each from the Joint Secretariat (JS) under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), with the participation of representatives of the Royal Norwegian Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

It is completely anomalous and condemnable that the mastermind of the extrajudicial killings and abductions of legal activists and suspected revolutionaries is the one unilaterally forming a commission to investigate her crimes. These crimes have been carried out under the auspices of the so-called US “war on terror” and through Oplan Bantay Laya, the national internal security plan prepared and directed by Arroyo’s cabinet oversight committee on internal security.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *