Thursday, February 22, 2007

Malacanang will never welcome investigations into the killings that do not absolve the AFP

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Malacanang will never welcome investigations into the killings that do not absolve the AFP

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration's refusal to acknowledge and respect the findings and conclusions of United Nations Human Rights Commission special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston is proof that it will never substantially and genuinely address the issue of the killings.

Beltran said that instead of receiving the findings objectively and constructively, Malacanang and its military spokespersons as well as justice secretary Raul Gonzalez have taken to dismissing Alston's findings. "Malacanang spokesperson Ignacio Bunye says that Malacanang welcomes all investigations into the killings; but seeing the AFP's reaction to the Mr. Alston's report, will Malacanang act in the findings of the investigations?"

"It's official – Malacanang will never acknowledge any international report on the human rights situation in the Philippines that doesn't coincide with its own version of reality. Pres. Arroyo herself has on many different occasions said that she welcomes any and all assistance from the international community to get to the truth behind the extrajudicial killings; but now here we have her own cabinet officials and spokespersons of the Armed Forces of the Philippines making personal insults against a UN official and refuting his findings as mere results of brainwashing," he said.

"How come she has not chastised Sec. Gonzalez for his insults against Mr. Alston and his office? Gonzalez is essentially bringing shame to the Arroyo administration for his most undiplomatic remarks and personal insults against an official of an internationally respected institution," he said.

"It's clear that Malacanang and officials like Raul Gonzalez will never welcome any investigations into the killings that will not absolve the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The only assistance that Malacanang will genuinely accept and welcome in relation to the extrajudicial killings are the ones that say that the AFP is not guilty and that there is no government plot to eliminate civilians allied with human rights groups and progressive party-lists," he added.

On the release of the Melo Report: Stop the killings, order the arrest of Palparan

Beltran welcomed the public release of the Melo Report commission and said that it will now be up tot eh public to lay down its verdict on the report. He pointed out, howeverm that even the Melo Commission which Macapagal-Arroyo herself ordered established was unable to come up with findings that did not pinpoint the military as perpetrators of the killings. "The Melo Commission cannot be accused of being biased in favor of the so-called Leftists; but still it's findings reveal that the military is accountable for the deaths of the members of the progressive party-lists and human rights groups. Now that the report has been made public, we challenge Pres. Arroyo to act on the findings and the recommendations of the Melo Commission and proceed with the arrest and prosecution of the masterminds and perpetrators of the killings, beginning with Jovito Palparan," he said.

"We have had enough of Malacanang's lip service to the issues of human rights and the extrajudicial killings. Malacanang should put its money where its mouth is so to speak. We demand that Pres. Arroyo order the immediate arrest of Jovito Palaparan and the immediate scrapping of Oplan Bantay Laya. Arroyo herself should a issue a public apology to the families of the victims, and also publicly denounce the killings as the handiwork of the AFP," he said.

"No witness protection program, no number of court hearings can replace the outright scrapping of Oplan Bantay Laya. This must be the first step – for a public declaration on the part of the administration that it is ordering the AFP to stop attacking and killing the members and leaders of militant people's groups, human rights organizations and progressive party-lights. What we demand is an unequivocal statement from Pres. Arroyo herself calling on the AFP to stop its killing operations," he said. #


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