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Oct 04th
Home Community Civil Rights Philippine Military Attributes Extra-judicial Killings to “Purging the Ranks” by the Activists Themselves
Philippine Military Attributes Extra-judicial Killings to “Purging the Ranks” by the Activists Themselves PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - Civil Rights
Written by Mon Ramirez   
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 09:08


By Mon Ramirez


T he more-than one-thousand extra-judicial killings during the Arroyo regime was explained away by the military as possibly a result of the activists themselves killing their own in what the military says is purging the ranks.

Now, the killing in broad daylight of 61-year old Bayan Muna coordinator in Aklan is explained away also as possibly a "purging". With that, it is supposed to put a closure to the case. As it was during the Arroyo regime, so it is during the Aquino regime, well, at least with this first killing.

But since this is the first killing of a Bayan Muna coordinator under the Aquino regime, and the DOJ Secretary is supposed to be a staunch human-rights advocate, is there anything new to expect in the solution of this case?

Even the abductions and the enforced disappearances were also explained as possibly a case of purging. Thus, Jonas Burgos, the son of nationally-known journalist Jose Burgos, was said to be abducted by his own fellow activists, according to the military.

H ere are the latest news articles about the recent “extra-judicial killings” of a Filipino political activist, a journalist and a political supporter of the Liberal Party:

MILITARY SAYS ‘Purging’ could be cause of Bayan Muna activist’s death

By Katherine Evangelista
First Posted 17:20:00 07/06/2010

Filed Under: Human Rights, political killings, Military


M ANILA, Philippines—The military on Tuesday denied having a hand in the murder of an activist in Aklan, saying that the militants themselves could be behind this first case of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino administration.


“Certainly we are not involved in that,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brigadier General Jose Mabanta said in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo Tuesday.


“We all know that in the leftist organization, purging from within has always been instituted or is a strategy of the underground armed organization,” he added.


Mabanta was referring to the killing of Fernando Baldomero, a local councilor and the provincial coordinator of the party-list group Bayan Muna, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in front of his house in Kalibo, Aklan Monday morning.


“We are possible suspects but do not forget that on the other side purging continues to be a strategy if only to tell their members that ‘we are still…katakutan [fearsome]; anytime we are armed and we are fighting for a cause and we can kill you or we can neutralize you anytime’,” Mabanta added.


The militant group Bayan (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) however, called Mabanta’s statement as “pure hogwash.”


AFP spokesman General Mabanta’s insinuation that Bayan Muna’s Baldomero may have been a victim of leftist purge is pure hogwash,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said in a separate text message.


Reyes said that “purging” among the ranks of militant groups has been disproved by United Nations rapporteur Philip Alston and the government’s Melo Commission, which probed the extrajudicial killings under the term of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


Meanwhile, Mabanta said that the military would assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) in conducting its investigation of the murder that came a mere six days after President Benigno Aquino III took office.


“What we will do is we will offer and give any services that PNP or the court warrants,” Mabanta said.

Focus on killings, not on ‘extensively’ probed scandals

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 18:24:00 07/06/2010

Filed Under: political killings, Media killings



M ANILA, Philippines—The first two cases of killings in the Aquino administration should be among the priority cases that the Truth Commission should look into rather than controversies that have already been extensively investigated, a partylist lawmaker said on Tuesday.


Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño said the killing of journalist Jose Daguio and councilor Fernando Baldomero, who is also a coordinator of the partylist group and the Liberal Party, is a test to the promise of President Benigno Aquino, III, to deliver justice for all.


Quezon Representative and LP spokesman Lorenzo Tañada, III, condemned the killings and gave assurances Aquino would not let pass the “unseen hand” testing the political will of the new President in solving these cases.

“Of course, we condemn the killing. It becomes a challenge now to the administration because President Aquino has just assumed office and some unseen hands may be testing his political will on issues like this,” he said.

Tañada said he believes Aquino will not turn a blind eye on the incident, noting that the latter appointed a staunch human rights defender, Leila de Lima, to head the Department of Justice.

Casiño said the twin slays should be the last under the Aquino administration.

“The case of Baldomero will be the litmus test that will determine if President Noynoy’s promise of justice for all is for real or an empty promise. He must address this immediately and scrap Oplan Bantay Laya that gives license to the military and the death squads it sponsors to demonize, harass and kill activists,” Casiño said in a statement.

Aquino formed the Truth Commission to be headed by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide to resolve corruption controversies that hounded the nine-year administration of former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

But Casiño said that the newly-formed body “should focus on cases that really need fact-finding, like the extrajudicial killings of activists and journalists, rather than cases that have already been extensively investigated like the graft-ridden NBN-ZTE deal, the fertilizer fund scam and the Hello Garci controversy.”


“The aforementioned controversies are already ripe for case build-up and a finishing kick by the Department of Justice. Acting on the killings is much more crucial for the Truth Commission because the atrocities are still going on as shown by the two recent killings in Kalinga (July 3) and Aklan (July 5),” Casiño said.


“If President Aquino is serious in turning this country around, the climate of impunity must be stopped. That will be the most apt task for the Truth Commission – getting to the perpetrators of (extrajudicial killings) and having them prosecuted and appropriately punished,” he said.


Baldomero is the 145th Bayan Muna member to fall victim to extrajudicial killings in the country and the first activist and elected local government official slain under the Aquino administration.

In the May 10 elections, he ran and won under the LP. # # #



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 July 2010 09:19

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