Philippines: Bayan calls for public disclosure of AFP’s Operation Bluetooth

Jun. 29, 2007

MANILA — week after GMA-7 news revealed the existence of what appeared to be Palace directives on extrajudicial killings of activists, the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan called on the Arroyo government to make a full public disclosure of the controversial Operation Bluetooth and other similar issuances that may have come from top cabinet and military officials.

The news clip from GMA networks website’Oplan-Bluetooth’-bares-effort-to-quash-CPP-‘fronts’ appears to show a systematic government policy on dealing with legal leftist groups, observed Bayan. The government approach includes the neutralization of certain personalities within the legal organizations.

Bayan believes that the term neutralization is a mere euphemism for carrying out assassinations and abductions of leftist leaders.

The existence of the oplan appears consistent with revelations of three anonymous generals who said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has adopted a policy of extrajudicial killings against legal activists, the group said.

What we are seeing are valuable pieces of the puzzle which when fully assembled, would reveal the real involvement of the Arroyo government and the AFP in the killings. Congress must conduct a no-holds barred investigation into this latest material which appears to show governments hand in the killings. The Senate should subpoena the controversial papers revealed in the news report, said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

People now have the right to know the Arroyo governments official stance versus legal leftist groups. We challenge Malacaang to declassify and make public the Bluetooth document as well as other policy documents such as Knowing the Enemy and the controversial Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2, Reyes added.

The Knowing the Enemy Powerpoint presentation linked legal groups to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army. The communist-labeling has been seen as one of the factors in the escalation of activist deaths under the Arroyo administration. Oplan Bantay Laya on the other hand is believed to be the over-arching government policy on counter-insurgency which also targets legal groups labelled as communist fronts.

Bayan also challenged the Supreme Court-sponsored summit on extrajudicial killings to find ways to protect legal activists from the dangerous policy of communist-labeling being employed by the government. The communist tag on legal organizations has often led to violent attacks on activist leaders. There must be something that the SC can do to stop the government from pursuing this very damaging practice, Reyes said.

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