4. Who must account for these killings?

Jun. 03, 2006

Mrs. Arroyo, being the commander in chief, is liable for the extrajudicial killings. It took her almost five years and more than 500 victims before she ordered an investigation through the formation of the Task Force Usig. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it correctly that the State should be responsible in protecting its people. The Arroyo administration is at the very least liable for its failure to protect its people. At the most, the Arroyo administration is liable for the killings through its tacit approval or direct involvement in these crimes.

The PNP task force, which has not even started its job, has already embarked on the propaganda line that these killings are the product of a communist purge. The creation of the task force only means to reinforce the lie being peddled by the COC-IS. Thus, it has become apparent that the government is more interested in spreading intrigues of a purge rather than going after the perpetrators of the killings.

The regimes COC-IS should be made directly accountable for the killings. The cabinet security cluster formulates and implements such repressive measures as the calibrated preemptive response, the Marcosian PP 1017 declaring a state of national emergency, and even the order for the arrests and detention of known progressive leaders such as the Batasan 6. Batasan 6 is composed of six progressive party-list representatives.

With the scale and magnitude of the killings, it is clear that there is a national policy at work which could only emanate from a very high and powerful cabinet cluster.

It is interesting to note that during the term of General Ermita as the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, motorcycle riding assassins were used to destroy then Partido ng Bayan, a progressive political party. Today, many of the killings have been done by the same death squads.

In the 1960s, Ermita was in Vietnam and worked with John Negroponte, the current director of the U.S. National Intelligence. Negroponte was notorious for human rights abuses in Honduras in the 1980s. Records show that Negroponte sanctioned the use of death squads, euphemized as a “special intelligence unit” of Battalion 3-16 of the Honduran armed forces, which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people.

Negroponte also served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005, the same time Gen. Palparan served as the head of the Philippines humanitarian mission to Iraq.

Early this year, Negroponte went to the Philippines and met with National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Ermita. One raises the question if the Negroponte visit affirmed U.S. support for the repressive measures employed by the Arroyo administration.

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