Yes, this is the thought of reports circulating across the world courtesy of the Manila bureaus of international wire agencies soon after the Melo Commission’s chairperson spoke with a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer regarding the findings of its probe into the political slays.
Take a look:
Philippine killings probe blames military (Reuters)
Report: Philippine Troops Killed Activists (Associated Press)Philippine deaths blamed on military (Reuters via The Age of Australia)
Soldiers responsible for majority of political killings in Philippines (Pravda of Russia)
Philippine killings probe blames military (Reuters via The Star of Malaysia)
Inquiry finds army killers (Reuters via Herald Sun of Australia)
Leftist killings blamed on military (Reuters via TVNZ of Aotearoa)
Philippine killings blamed on army (Al Jazeera)
Activists’ slayings linked to soldiers (The Seattle Times)
But come to think of it, there’s nothing new about that. It is public knowledge that generals like Jovito Palparan authorize, defend and preach extrajudicial killings as a response to legal, unarmed activists conveniently tagged by them as “communists”.
We could smell a rat as soon as retired Justice Jose Melo opened his mouth. It appears that the panel, incompetent and beholden to Arroyo and the military since Day One, will not get to the bottom of the killings.
We hope international pressure continues to drive the Arroyo government to the political abyss. It should be held to account for Oplan Bantay Laya, the counter-insurgency program approved by President Arroyo under which political killings have been perpetrated.
No, the soldiers did not act individually and without orders from highers-up. The soldiers were motivated properly by Oplan Bantay Laya which considers activists as targets in the government’s dirty war against the New People’s Army.
The culture of impunity cannot be broken without the identification and prosecution of the perpetrators and masterminds of the more than 800 slays. But, more importantly, the Philippines must find the policy basis for these systematic and nationwide extrajudicial killings. The Melo Commission’s finding that soldiers acted individually in carrying out the murders of political activists is without basis and does not jibe with the administration’s dubbing of activist organizations as enemies of the state.(Even their duly-elected partylist representatives in Congress are persecuted.)
Justice must be served.
Photo courtesy of GMAnews.tv