Akbayan: AFP’s favorite partylist

One of the partylist groups identified by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a “military ally” and “a good leftist party” should condemn the AFP, not Bayan Muna, but this was what its ringleaders did when they issued this scathing statement.

It is the AFP, as shown in documents exposed by Bayan Muna, who identified several partylist groups as “military allies” in a concerted effort to meddle in the partylist elections whose goal is to destroy Bayan Muna while favoring other partylists. (The documents are found here and here.)

The AFP is also behind a pathetic disqualification case, using as basis the incredible allegation that Bayan Muna representatives allegedly ordered the murder of two Akbayan members in Nueva Ecija.

All partylists should denounce the AFP for planning and carrying out such plan to interfere in the partylist elections. Let us press the AFP to stop targeting Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party in the counter-insurgency campaign which has resulted in extrajudicial killings and other abuses.

It is unfortunate that this “military ally” instead seized the moment to attack Bayan Muna, even dragging the New People’s Army into the picture in a manner characteristic of military spin doctors.

But dragging the NPA into any issue pertaining to Bayan Muna has been a pastime of this “military ally” since 2001 when Bayan Muna first ran for partylist representation. In 2001 and 2004, the same party accused Bayan Muna of working with the NPA in the campaign, and castigating Bayan Muna for the NPA’s ban against them in rebel territories. No proof was given, no formal charges were filed – again a reprise of the modus-operandi of the military in demonizing Bayan Muna.

It is thus only to be expected that the said party’s reaction to an expose of soldiers prowling the city and meddling in the partylist elections should prioritize a condemnation of the NPA and to accuse Bayan Muna of “divisive vanguardism”, whatever that means.

We are likewise concerned that the party is engaging in double-talk on the issue of political killings. In the Philippines, it is busy helping the AFP in baselessly inserting the NPA into the issue and thus help the AFP evade responsibility. In the US, a jetsetting party leader goes around soliciting donations to purportedly benefit victims of extrajudicial killings.

In his meeting with members of the House Committee on Human Rights on Feb. 20, even United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston remarked that Etta Rosales’s fulminations against the NPA echoed military propaganda on extrajudicial killings. Pressed to give even an estimate figure on the number of victims of NPA-perpetrated extrajudicial killings she vigorously condemned during the meeting, Rosales was mum
and could not give even a ballpark figure.

As chair of the House Committee on Human Rights until last year, Rosales practically sat on hundreds of resolutions seeking investigations into extrajudicial killings since 2001. Only one resolution – pertaining to the 2002 twin-murder of Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy by a military death squad under the command of then-Col. Jovito Palparan – resulted in a committee report, and we credit the victims’ families and human rights group Karapatan for their dogged determination that compelled Rosales to act.

A day after Alston issued a statement decrying the AFP for its “state of total denial” on the issue of political killings, AFP Chief Hermogenes Esperon himself tagged Rosales’ partylist as “a good leftist party”.

No surprise that Bayan Muna remains the people’s top choice for partylist representation.

Note: In 2001, I wrote a similar article published by Bulatlat.

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