Friday, May 19, 2006

GMA is still accountable for killings of activists

May 17, 2006

No matter how much the Palace denies it,
GMA is still accountable for killings of activists – Beltran

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo face her own share of public accountability over the rising murders of activists by suspected military and para-military elements, Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran said today from Room 427 of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City.

"No matter how much the Palace denies it, Pres. Arroyo is still accountable for the record-high killings of activists and journalists under her administration. As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), she can not escape total public accountability over the alarming and condemnable murders of activists, many of which are suspected to be the handiwork of military troops, paramilitary elements or their 'death squads'" Beltran said.

"Many of these killings, if the Task Force Usig Takes its job of scrutinizing the trends seriously, took place after observed prior military surveillance and/or harassment of the victims. Many of the murders took place in the overall context of increased military presence in the areas where these occurred, particularly with the deployment of Jovito Palparan and his publicly-documented claims to wipe out the mass movement in these rewspective areas," Beltran said.

"Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita's admonition to quit laying blame on the President is an obvious attempt at paghuhugas-kamay. All the Palace's actions in the past point to the President's callous silence over killings ever since the trend started in 2001. As the human rights watchdog KARAPATAN correctly pointed out, it was only until the body count reached over five hundred dead that the Palace ordered an investigation into the issue," Beltran said.

"The call for a probe comes too late and too lame, especially after the issues of political murders of activists have been publicly brought out through different venues: local and international media reports, international fact-finding missions such as the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) last August 2005 and the International Labor Solidarity Mission (ILSM) this month, last year's impeachment complaint, the Citizens' Congress for Truth and Accountability (CCTA), and even the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) when it convened in Manila last year. It's impossible that the Palace has not been duly aware of the scope of these killings, as these included high-profile union leaders, such as Nestle union President and Anakpawis Southern Tagalog Chairperson Diosdado Fortuna and Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) President Ricardo Ramos," Beltran noted.

"These killings have been brought to the attention of the President way back in 2001, and ever since these escalated to alarming heights and brutality last year. But the Palace did not lift a finger to condemn or to call for a probe. It was ominously and coldly silent on the issue of these murders. It was is only now, when local and international outrage over these killings are beginning to threaten her plans of staying in power, that the Palace is trying to project a semblance of action on the issue," Beltran said. ###

Reference: Congressman Crispin Beltran (0927-871-1080).


Post a Comment

<< Home