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GMA is Mastermind of Nationwide Slaughter of Legal Activists

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
19 August 2006

Philippine-based and international human rights organizations and fact-finding missions have gone to the scenes of the crimes of extrajudicial killings and abductions of legal activists. They have examined all available evidence and the testimonies of surviving victims and other witnesses among the close relatives, neighbors, friends and colleagues of the victims in the mass organizations, churches and professional associations.

They have exerted due diligence to make their findings and conclusions. They deserve all commendations for bringing to light the truth about the extrajudicial killings and abductions perpetrated by the death squads of the Arroyo regime. They are motivated by a high sense of justice and respect for the human rights of the hundreds of victims, including workers, peasants, women, youth, teachers, students, human rights advocates, lawyers and judges, pastors and priests, journalists and environmentalists

They have found it useless and even dangerous to depend on the scanty, partial and misleading sham investigations done by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). However, they have accorded due respect to the Commission on Human Rights for having acted on complaints and for having held the government responsible for failing to stop so many extrajudicial killings and abductions and allowing these to proceed with impunity.

It has long been an "open secret" that no less than Gloria M. Arroyo is in charge of the US-instigated scheme to use state terrorism to destroy the revolutionary movement in the Philippines under the US policy of "war on terror." Phoenix Program veteran executive secretary Eduardo Ermita and another US factotum national security adviser Norberto Gonzales have long proclaimed that the legal activists are being killed because they are allegedly communists and that anyway the communists could also be blamed for carrying out "purges".

Under Arroyo's over-all direction, the cabinet oversight committee and the anti-terrorism task force have planned and carried out Oplan Bantay Laya, with one component using the military and police forces to assault the armed revolutionary movement in suspected guerrilla fronts and the other component using death squads to murder and abduct legal activists. Arroyo also seeks to keep herself in power by weakening or destroying both the legal opposition and the armed revolutionary movement.

Oplan Bantay Laya is patterned after the murderous Phoenix Program, carried out by the US in its war of aggression against Vietnam in the 1960s. The national internal security plan of the Arroyo regime aims to discredit the revolutionaries and their suspected supporters in every possible way and then use death squads with unwritten orders to kill the suspected supporters and blame the revolutionaries for the murder. It is a dirty game being replayed by US agents and their assets in the Philippines, like Arroyo, Eduardo Ermita and Norberto Gonzales.

Confronted by the findings and conclusions of the human rights organizations and fact-finding missions, Gloria M. Arroyo makes pretenses only this year at taking action on the widespread complaints against the extrajudicial killings and abductions of legal activists. In May she pretended to launch Task Force Usig. But this would preoccupy itself with putting the blame on the revolutionaries, on the victims for supposedly being associated with the revolutionaries and on their relatives for refusing to be investigated.

In her state-of-the-nation address (SONA) in July, she pretended to condemn the extrajudicial killings but gave high praise to the most notorious butcher, General Palparan. Then she pretended to demand the solution of 10 cases in ten weeks' time. Before public derision for this piece of tokenism could subside, more victims were shot dead by the death squads. The psywar mills of the palace, the national security adviser, the AFP and PNP spewed out the lie that the revolutionaries were engaged in "purges".

Hard pressed by the telling reports of human rights organizations, especially Amnesty International, Gloria M. Arroyo has artfully announced that she would form a commission to undertake the investigation of the killings of journalists and legal activists. But such a commission is actually intended to pull the rug from under the already existing Commission on Human Rights. It can only depend on the sham investigations of the police agents of Arroyo and can only end up with trying to uphold the malicious claims of the regime against the victims, the legal opposition and the revolutionary movement.

No solution to the extrajudicial killings and abductions can be expected from the tyrant herself, the practitioner of state terrorism and mastermind of the nationwide slaughter of legal activists. And no real and honest investigation can be expected from the PNP, the AFP and the department of justice because their preoccupation is to cover up and let the death squads continue their dirty work, to put the blame on the victims and the revolutionaries and to discredit the human rights organizations and fact-finding missions that have exposed the truth.

Under the present circumstances, the people are looking for various ways to obtain justice beyond the confines of the oppressive regime. The current reign of terror and greed is generating popular resistance. The time will certainly come for satisfying the people's demand for justice and punishing the criminals. ###

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