Melo Commission Report: Findings

Feb. 23, 2007

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From the evidence and presentations received by the Commission, it became apparent early on that the Commission must differentiate its inquiry into the killings of activists from those of media personnel and agrarian reform movement. It appeared that the killings of media personnel are more or less attributable to reprisals for the victims exposs or other media practices. In the media killings, local politicians, warlords, or big business interests are viewed as the parties responsible for the killings, while in agrarian reform related killings, it is suspected that landowners and those opposed to the implementation of land reform are behind the killings. On the other hand, the killings of activists were invariably laid at the doorstep of the military.

The investigation of killings of media personnel by the PNP was notably more successful than that that of activist killings. For the media killings, formal complaints have been filed in a great majority of cases. Suspects in the media killings have been named and identified. In activist killings, there have been a measly number of complaints filed with the authorities.

In all, the killings of media personnel have been, more or less, solved, compared to the activist killings and agrarian reform related killings. On the other hand, it is not clear if the agrarian reform related killings have the same etiology as the activist killings. Thus, the Commission hereby sees fit to submit its findings on activist killings independently of that of the media killings and agrarian reform related killings.

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