The responsibility for the killings falls on Arroyo

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

One way for the extra-judicial killings and other violations of human rights in the Philippines to cease now is for Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to order her armed forces to stop these senseless crimes. Mrs. Arroyo must be made accountable as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as chief implementor of state policies which result in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee

One way for the extra-judicial killings and other violations of human rights in the Philippines to cease now is for Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to order her armed forces to stop these senseless crimes. It is not enough to pin the blame for these killings on retired Major General Jovito Palparan and other military officials, as reported by the Melo Commission. Mrs. Arroyo must be made accountable as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as chief implementor of state policies which result in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The killings and abductions of civilians, now numbering more than 825 — including Church leaders and members, human rights defenders and lawyers, journalists, party-list organizers and other members of militant organizations — have escalated under the U.S.-backed regime of Mrs. Arroyo since she came to power in 2001.

These politically-motivated crimes have been deliberate, systematic and done on a nationwide-scale under the regime’s National Internal Security Plan, euphemistically known as “Oplan Bantay Laya” (operation plan freedom watch). Mrs. Arroyo exercises operational control over the butchery through her Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security, headed by notorious Marcos general Eduardo Ermita and the equally-notorious liar, national security adviser Norberto Gonzales. This campaign to “neutralize” political activists and suspected communists has been extended under Oplan Banta Laya II and is bound to escalate further on the level of genocide.

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. Mrs. Arroyo’s announcement for the Commission to continue its “investigative” work is another political gimmick to mollify the mounting criticism coming from all over the world against the policy of state terrorism by her US-backed regime.

The accountability in these killings of Mrs. Arroyo herself, her fascist generals and the blood-thirsty officials of the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security can be discerned from the Melo report itself — and she can no longer hide or evade from such responsibility.

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