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December 01, 2007


Ian Alvarez

Who does Aslton think he is? He should know that AFP is at war with the reds. Reds and militants are using Human Rights as their sheild to protect themselves in international arena. Reds are the first violator of human rights. How about those killed by the reds? Their human rights are violate too.

If Alston has nothing better to do, he should instead go to China where all horrible abuses are committed not in our country. I admire and respect our Armed Forces because their first duty is to protect our country. In fact, our AFP should kill all government dissedents para naman tumahimik ang ating bayan!


The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
-Thomas Jefferson-

Extra judicial executions are UNACCEPTABLE. Ian, there is no way to condone this.

R Velasquez

We can't consider our country a true democracy if we can't voice our opinions without fear of government harassment. We also can't consider our country a truly civilized nation if we resort to killings just to settle disagreements. Our elections are shameful and bloody enough.

DJB Rizalist

I don't see why the Philippine Govt has any obligation to act on Mr. Alston's report, which contributes no facts, only his own rehash of information others have given him. It is like an opinion column in a foreign newspaper. That's all. Philip Alston is NOT the United Nations, excuse me.


Hello DJB

The Philippine government has a duty to protect its own citizens from military assassins, presumably you would agree with that? The point of the quote from the Yamashita trial is that, even if the president isn’t directly ordering the killings “[s]he also should be held responsible for failure to deter the unlawful behavior of subordinates if [s]he knew they had committed or were about to commit crimes yet failed to take the necessary and reasonable steps to prevent their commission or to punish those who had committed them”. That’s the principle of command responsibility.

I don’t think I said Alston was the United Nations. He is a United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, appointed because of his experience in human rights violations. His report is important because he is an expert, because he is a neutral observer, and because he was invited here by the Philippine government. It is not binding, but if the government chooses to ignore the report’s very clear assignment of blame for the killings we can all reach our own conclusions on why.


All I know is GMA has made another one of her reward offers (P1M - what a waste of money) to anyone who has info on missing mutineer Faeldon. I just wish she would put in as much (or even a fraction of) interest into finding the real killers of all these journalists, radiomen, farmers etc. but she's just not interested in that. DJB, I am surprised you think that way, being a journalist yourself.


The real killers of the journalists, radiomen and farmers are not a threat to GMA so she sees no need for putting up a 1M reward.


Hi cvj — I know what you are saying, but I would put it slightly differently, the killers are not *perceived* as a threat by GMA. In fact an out-of-control military poses a great threat not just to this administration but to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way. This is of course assuming that we continue to give the administration the benefit of the doubt and assume that the killings were not directed by the executive branch.


Hi Torn, i have long since given up on the the working assumption that GMA has any regard for the "long-term stability and prosperity of the country". Being both illegitimate and unpopular, it has been in her interest to give free rein to a military that props her up. I suppose she believes that she will not run out of money to continue feeding the beast.

DJB Rizalist

The worst thing about Philip Alston is that he believes there is a lawful way of conducting the combat between insurgents and govt! He can live with endless war, as long as the combatants obey his international humanitarian eck eck laws.

I for one question the entire moral legitimacy of the insurgency and demand that it be ended. It failed long ago and cannot draw justification from the idea that the governed have a right to withdraw their consent, since the governed have long ago rejected the violent communist insurgency! Yet they persist because they are fanatics and need an excuse to conduct large scale extortion activities.

But Alston abets the insurgency by putting the CPP NPA on the same moral footing as the govt, and adjudges the latter to be the greater failure.

He can afford to be "even handed" like that. We can't!



Can we be sure the army is murdering members of "a violent communist insurgency"?

What about Musa Dimasidsing, the election official who was shot dead in for exposing the fraud that resulted in the unbelievable 12-0 victory of the administration in Maguindanao?

Or 73-year-old Dalmacio Gandinao, the Bayan Muna leader who was gunned down February in front of his wife and three grandchildren as they ate their evening meal?

Or Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño, and Jonas Burgos?

My feeling is that some of the killings may be of insurgents but that many, perhaps most, are of people ideologically opposed to the government or a local strongman or to the military. The fact is neither of us really knows enough about the victims, which is why for its own sake I think the government needs to conduct a proper investigation and to bring murderers to justice. Unfortunately, the president has just issued a knee jerk response to the Alston report, which basically says the military are fine upstanding chaps. I see no will to identify, prosecute, and punish the killers, which means that the killings will continue and the victims' families will continue to be denied justice.


And what about the murders of radio and newspaper journalists?

Ian Alvarez

It's okay to murder journalist and radio personalities that are IRRESPONSIBLE. They're just pasakit to our motherland.


it's hard to believe that there are still red-baiters in this country in this day and age. i thought that went out in the US after the McCarthyist 1950s. but i guess the Philippines is 40 years behind in many things, even in our political thinking. seems that ian and djb are of this, um,'jurassic' mindset. no point in discussing with them, Torn. a waste of time.

Extrajudicial murders of civilians, 'left-leaning' or otherwise, by the AFP or its minions are never a solution and will only backfire on the govt. indeed the killings only emphasize our 'thirdworldness' as a country; a nation and a govt of murderous thugs. It's a warped, backward policy -- immoral and shameful, and as i said, counterproductive.


Hi torn

I've reacted to a similar topic you wrote in your blog before, let me just reiterate it. I am relieved that the Alston report categorically blames the Philippine military for the killings of activists and journalists. Whether any soldier or officer will go to jail for the killings is another matter. At the very least, there is a record of this brutality, and I hope the international community will refer to it when deciding how to deal with the Arroyo government.

The "purge" story that the military used to explain away the killings is of course incredible. Nevertheless (and here I go again) real "purges" did occur throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Hundreds of innocent people were tortured and killed by their very own comrades, people who were also fighting against tyranny. There exists no "official" report to document those tragedies and assign culpability. NO single person from the Communist Party has ever gone to prison for those killings. Many of the graves of the victims have yet to be found. In fact, the real scale of the purges has been covered up and is still being covered up, conveniently overlooked because they were not committed by the state.

I also believe that slaughtering civilians is unjustifiable in any context. I understand how poverty and grave inequality fuel the insurgency and would not dream of "demanding" (as DJB puts it) that it be ended. Nevertheless I agree with his point about moral legitimacy. The Arroyo government does not possess it, but nor does the Communist Party. This is why I cannot stop raising the issue of the "purges". Those victims also deserve justice and the same moral outrage that we reserve for the victims of the military.


Hello Carla

Long time no hear from. As you say, we have been over this ground before and I will just repeat what I said before.

Of course, communist party purges should be condemned.

However, Jonas Burgos, Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño, Musa Dimasidsing and hundreds of others like them murdered during the Arroyo administration never purged anybody. They were just idealists who have been brutally killed because it is easy to have weak, powerless, and inconvenient people killed in the Philippines. Especially if the government is happy to look the other way.

Previous communist party atrocities have been used by the military as a convenient excuse, which the UN rapporteur found “strikingly unconvincing” and you yourself say is “incredible”. There is a place to criticize these outrages but to raise them in this context just muddies the waters and risks the victims of the current wave of violence being linked with events they had nothing to do with.


I'm hoping that Jonas Burgos, Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño are still alive.


Hi again torn. Been busy, had to shut up for a while.

My point is that the killings and abductions of activists today and the torture and murders of Communist Party cadres are one and the same issue. Both go to the root of what 'human rights' are, regardless of who violates them. I am not saying that Karen Empeno and other recent victims of the military are in any way responsible for the purges, but those who were killed in the purges are *also* victims. The plight of Bayan Muna activists does not diminish the plight of purge victims. I am assigning equivalence between these tragedies and questioning why one should be privileged over another. I have never heard Karapatan, for example, denouncing the purges. Why?

I don't think raising the issue of the violence within the Left at this time muddies waters. So when is the 'proper' time to raise the issue of the purges then? When the CPP gains strength and carries out more massacres in the name of revolution? At least we have Alston and the UN to investigate the atrocities of the military. But no one speaks for those murdered cadres and I am afraid that with the CPP's propaganda and clout, no one ever will.


Gonzo -- Yes, exactly right. Thank you for putting it so clearly.

CVJ -- Yes, let's hope so.

Carla -- OK, I don't think we will ever agree on the relevance of this point so let's just leave it there.

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