NDFP Monitoring Committee reiterates proposal, castigates negative reactions of GRP officials

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Monitoring Committee

Within the frame of the work of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) as further elaborated in the Operational Guidelines for the Joint Monitoring Committee, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Monitoring Committee (MC) reiterates its proposal to its counterpart in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)-MC to form an ad-hoc committee that will conduct joint fact-finding investigations into the recent cases of disappearances of unarmed civilian activists and captured suspected revolutionaries.

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Monitoring Committee

Within the frame of the work of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) as further elaborated in the Operational Guidelines for the Joint Monitoring Committee, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Monitoring Committee (MC) reiterates its proposal to its counterpart in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)-MC to form an ad-hoc committee that will conduct joint fact-finding investigations into the recent cases of disappearances of unarmed civilian activists and captured suspected revolutionaries.

The ad-hoc committee shall be composed of the nominated independent observers of the GRP and NDFP in the JMC and three members each from the GRP and NDFP nominated sections in the Joint Secretariat (JS). To ensure the safety and security of the ad-hoc committee, a representative each from the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) shall sit as observers in the committee and shall join all fact-finding investigations. There is no excuse for the GRP to refuse the NDFP-MC proposal.

The reactions of the PNP Director General Oscar Calderon and Philippine army chief Lt. General Romeo Tolentino to the proposal of the NDFP Monitoring Committee expose their ignorance of the content of the CARHRIHL, particularly the equal relations of the NDFP and GRP sections of the Joint Monitoring Committee. Calderon is wrong in presuming that the NDFP is subordinate to the PNP even as he pretends to welcome the NDFP proposal. Tolentino is worse for making a completely hostile reaction by outrightly rejecting the proposal and making false accusations against the revolutionary movement.

However, the worst reactions have come from national security adviser Norberto Gonzales and his mentor, Jesuit priest Fr. Romeo Intengan, who is reputed to be an unofficial adviser of Gloria M. Arroyo. They do not only reject the NDFP proposal but they also justify at length the extra-judicial killings and disappearances committed by the military death squads of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime.

First, they label the victims communists or communist sympathizers/supporters and insinuate that they are therefore without human rights and are subject to extermination by the military and police. Then they make the preposterous claim that the victims were killed or disappeared in so-called internal purging. They are actually providing the military rationale for the continued extra-judicial killings and disappearances of unarmed civilian activists and captured suspected revolutionaries, in complete disregard of human rights covenants and international humanitarian law.

With their rabid anti-communist blinders, Gonzales and Intengan deny the following facts:

 

  1. The testimonies of witnesses and the victims-relatives on the identities of the perpetrators, the circumstances of the killings and disappearances, and the known organizational affiliation of most of the victims who belonged to the militant legal democratic movement opposed to the corrupt and brutal Arroyo regime;
  2. The pattern and brazenness of the killings which only persons in authority and with resources can perpetrate with no fear of prior discovery and arrest (usually warning the victims first of their activities as in the case of Noli Capulong, visiting them as in the case of Sotero Llamas, or identifying them as NPA supporters as in the case of Juvy Magsino; the use of motorcycles or tinted vans with no plate numbers; the assassins wearing bonnets or brazenly entering houses and shooting their victims in the presence of their families);
  3. The intimidation and harassment of witnesses like those who witnessed the abduction of Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy; and the killings of witnesses like those of Isaias Manano in Oriental Mindoro who witnessed the killing of Choy Napoles, Marcelino Beltran who testified against the military on the Hacienda Luisita massacre, and Ofelia “Perla” Rodriguez who testified against Jovito Palparan in a public forum;
  4. The lobbying by the Arroyo regime with the US and European governments for the inclusion of the CPP, NPA and Prof. Jose Maria Sison in the so-called terrorist list which was then used conveniently to justify the extra-judicial killings and disappearances of so-called terrorists;
  5. The escalation of extra-judicial killings and disappearances after the launching of Oplan Bantay Laya in 2002, hoping to ride on the US war of terror against legitimate national liberation movements and countries asserting national independence;
  6. The promotions, rewards and praises heaped by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on identified human rights violators and electoral manipulators such as Hermogenes Esperon, Romeo Tolentino and Jovito Palparan, which make international human rights observers conclude that a climate of impunity exists in the country;
  7. The observation of the Royal Norwegian Government that it is unlikely that the killings nor trend of killings can be explained away as purges being committed within the progressive Left movement; and
  8. The results of numerous national and international fact-finding missions which found the Arroyo regime culpable for systematic and widespread violations of human rights such as those conducted by the World Council of Churches, the International Solidarity Mission, the Citizens’ Congress for Truth and Accountability, an investigating team of Amnesty International, a delegation of women lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild of the US, the Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers Without Borders of The Netherlands and Belgium, and the Hong Kong Fact-Finding Committee, among others.

GRP’s National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Jesuit priest Fr. Romeo Intengan are professional anti-communist witch hunters, who are no different from the inquisitors during the medieval period in Europe and the McCarthyites of recent times. These bloodthirsty ultra-reactionaries cannot claim moral ascendancy over the NDFP nor pretend to know more about its workings.

Gonzales and Intengan like to call themselves social-democrats. But they are a far cry from, or have no affinity whatsoever with, the European variety that tends to uphold the libertarian tradition of the bourgeoisie. This anti-communist duo are more of the clerico-fascist type of Franco’s Falangists in Spain and the Philippines.

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