Sham investigation proves Arroyo is engaged in double talk

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

By now, it should be clear that the Arroyo regime's much-hyped investigation of the string of extra-judicial executions, abductions and enforced disappearances committed by her own death squads and special psyops victimizing outspoken critics and other progressive forces is just a big sham. What is happening since the President of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Gloria M. Arroyo pledged to look into these cases is actually more killings, a counter black propaganda, more deceptions and, worst of all, whitewashing.

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

By now, it should be clear that the Arroyo regime's much-hyped investigation of the string of extra-judicial executions, abductions and enforced disappearances committed by her own death squads and special psyops victimizing outspoken critics and other progressive forces is just a big sham. What is happening since the President of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Gloria M. Arroyo pledged to look into these cases is actually more killings, a counter black propaganda, more deceptions and, worst of all, whitewashing.

More than a month after its formation, all that Arroyo's Melo Commission has accomplished is to confirm well-founded suspicions that it is nothing but a whitewashing mechanism whose task is to exculpate the reactionary president and her generals from liability for the killings. Meantime, attempts are being made by the reactionary government to make investigations of recent human rights incidents more dangerous as it gears for the escalation of extra-judicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearances.

Members of the Melo Commission are just following the script already contrived by Arroyo and her generals. First, they violate the basic tenets of investigation by calling on the suspects first – including the butcher general, Jovito Palparan, and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. – to use the forum to exonerate themselves and blame the New People's Army (NPA) for the killings, instead of inviting the grieving families of victims to hear their complaints. By harping that there is no "direct evidence" to link Palparan to the killings, to quote their own chief legal counsel, they make sure that the families of the victims – along with their eyewitnesses and evidences – will shut themselves out of the investigation forever.

As the mock investigation is truly unmasking itself as a cover up for the masterminds and the executioners alike, efforts are being made to cover the tracks of perpetrators of political killings. The national police, which is the military's conduit in Oplan Bantay Laya, is fully cooperating with the AFP in making sure that the identities of death squads and special psyops responsible for the spate of extra-judicial killings and other atrocities remain secret and that investigations conducted by non-government human rights organizations are made more hazardous.

Recently, the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) signed a memorandum of agreement directing the police to cordon off "conflict areas" and "scenes of the crime" from human rights organizations, civilians and other volunteer groups at the risk of being arrested for "rebellion" or "obstruction of justice". The agreement will make politically-motivated killings and other atrocities to be committed with greater impunity and further shields the perpetrators from investigation and prosecution.

Elsewhere, investigations being done by some concerned members of the House of Representatives on the killings have also been suspended. For months, the reactionary regime's Department of Justice has been sitting on about 450 human rights cases that the Commission on Human Rights has investigated and submitted to the DOJ for immediate prosecution.

Proof that the reactionary regime is bent on escalating its political persecution campaign while mouthing lies that it intends to put a stop to the killings is the billions of pesos it has committed for the AFP-PNP's counter-insurgency campaign while giving only crumbs for the Melo Commission. Arroyo has also received commitments from the US Pacific Command to send more special forces to the Philippines to conduct counter-insurgency training and unconventional warfare – the euphemism for political assassinations – for the AFP. The AFP, in turn, will continue to reorient the PNP in counter-insurgency.

It is clear that the reactionary Arroyo regime, so despised by the Filipino people, continues to engage in doublespeak. It makes the motions of investigating the string of political killings in order to appease international human rights organizations and institutions but is in fact erecting more walls and shields for its genocidal operations.

No wonder more and more Filipinos suspect that the Melo Commission is nothing but a reserved part of the regime's Oplan Bantay Laya whose role is to make the commission of extra-judicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearances without any legal encumbrance by making sure that the security forces are exonerated from these crimes against humanity and in conditioning the public mind that the killings are just part of the revolutionary movement's "internal purge."

Nobody is buying these tricks, however.

It is high time for the Filipino people and their mass organizations, as well as international organizations and institutions to keep up the pressure on the despicable Arroyo regime and resist the fascist terror that it has unleashed on the masses, particularly against its most vocal critics and political dissenters.

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