Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cardinal Rosales indirectly absolving the AFP, Macapagal-Arroyo government of responsibility over extrajudicial killings

Tuesday March 27, 2007

Cardinal Rosales indirectly absolving the AFP, Macapagal-Arroyo government of responsibility over extrajudicial killings

On his sixth day of fasting, Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales 'completely missed the whole point' on the issue of the extrajudicial killings and worsening human rights situation in the country. He said that Rosales was essentially defending the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and absolving the institution and its members from culpability over the killings by giving credence to its arguments that the New People's Army (NPA) were also guilty.

"It's most unfortunate that Cardinal Rosales can even think to say that the extrajudicial killings under the incumbent government are nothing compared to those perpetrated by the Marcos dictatorship. It's like he's trying to downplay the urgency of the need to find justice for the victims and put an end to the killings. Is he saying that we should wait for the number of extrajudicial killings under Macapagal-Arroyo reach or exceed the record set by Marcos before we sound the alarm?"

"Cardinal Rosales has begun to be convinced by the twisted arguments and lies of the AFP that the progressive party-lists are fronts for the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines, and this is a very terrible mistake. The victims of the extrajudicial killings are unarmed civilians, members and leaders of the progressive party-lists, and all the signs point towards the AFP as the perpetrators of the killings. Cardinal Rosales sounds like he is already giving up on the campaign to find justice for the victims and is now just spreading the blame around instead of focusing on the institution that's mainly responsible for upholding human rights in the country but is now violating them: the Macapagal-Arroyo government," he said.

Beltran expressed hope that other bishops, cardinals and priests will not take the same tack as Rosales and instead see the issue of the extrajudicial killings as it really is: the responsibility of the Macapagal-Arroyo government. He also lauded Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and his report endorsing the public call for the pull-out of AFP troops from the urban poor communities and residential areas in the National Capital Region.

In the meantime, Beltran said that he was already preparing to welcome the delegation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union as the IPU conducts its own human rights mission in the Philippines in April. He expressed thanks to the IPU for its continued support to his case and to that of fellow detained lawmaker Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo.

"The more the international community speaks out in condemnation of the extrajudicial killings and over-all worsening of the human rights situation in the country, the greater the chances of the Arroyo government being compelled to stop the killings, as well as the harassment against the progressive party-lists and their lawmakers," he said.

He also said that he will also update the IPU on the slow developments in thelegal proceedings on the cases surrounding his arrest and continuing detention. Beltran and his lawyers are set to file a petition for certiorari on Beltran's sedition case at the Quezon City Municipal Trial Court. Beltran's attorneys want to elevate the case to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court and there press for the immediate dismissal of the sedition charges against Beltran.

Beltran is being charged of inciting to sedition and rebellion on two separate counts. The rebellion charges were filed at the Makati Regional Trial Court. #


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