‘The Impunity’ in Philippines Death Squad attacks
MELINDA Quintos de Jesus, executive director of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), writes about the spate of killings of journalists in the Philippines in a column for the Inquirer today. She views the killings from a historical perspective and looks back to the period right after the restoration of democracy in 1986. …
On another note there has been in the last 24 hours two attacks on Politcal figures in the country. The Bomb attack on the H2 Hummer of the Governor of Batangas Province south of manila has raised 'new concerns' as Police anew are pointing to destablaizers and or Politcal elements into the issue. 2 security men of the Governor gave thier lives and got him out of the vechile before a second blast.
Also today a manhunt has been ordered after 3 gunmen open fire on mayor of a small town in politcal election hearing protest in Mindanao. That case is still developing. Police are repoedtly chasing down the suspects.
Meanwhile a report out of Cebu… a trip made by a US embassy consul seeking information on the allegations of a 'CDS' that is allegedly a 'vigilante groups' –
didnt see much of this in the news – on TV or print in the major daillies.
On the wide spread activities of those groups who in the name of 'instant justice' kill with impunity…
 … US ‘concerned’ about murders
Sun.Star, Philippines – 22 hours ago
… Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier said he will not prioritize going after the … If these killings remain unsolved, this will put the Philippines in a bad light… …
From SUN STAR Cebu
THE unabated summary executions in Cebu City and the killings of journalists and members of militant groups have prompted the US Government to look into these incidents and what the Philippine Government is doing to solve the problem. Lawyer Alejandro Alonso, director of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) 7, said US Vice Consul and Political Affairs Officer Rachel Wolfe met with him last Tuesday for a briefing on the human rights situation in the region, particularly the vigilante-style killings. Apart from CHR 7, Wolfe also got a briefing from Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City chapter president Alex Tolentino on the police inability to solve the killings, the “lukewarm attitude” of local officials, and the apparent hopelessness of the situation. The US embassy’s move is seen as linked to the nationwide call for a stop to the killings of activists and journalists. This may be taken as meddling on the part of the US, but its clout includes withholding aid and other programs from a country that violates civil liberties. Alonso said the Philippines is a signatory of several international human rights treaties and is mandated to respect and protect human rights. Alonso, however, said Wolfe did not tell him the specific action the US Government will take regarding the incidents. Wolfe also discussed with Tolentino last Wednesday the 162 summary executions that have been carried out in Cebu City since Dec. 22, 2004, considering that the US provides funding for the training of Philippine policemen and this assistance should not be used in human rights violations. “They (Wolfe and staff) asked how true it is that public officials and the police tolerate the killings and if we have evidence that government officials and the PNP are involved,” Tolentino told Sun.Star Cebu in an interview. The IBP Cebu City has raised its concern to its national office, local and police officials, Congress and all the way to Malacañang. But so far, the group’s call remained unheeded. Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal has also repeatedly called for an end to the killings. The National Bureau of Investigation also looked into the cases, but failed to make headway. Cebu City Police Chief Melvin Gayotin earlier said they are stumped for leads because witnesses and the victims’ families are reluctant to come forward. Police Regional Office 7 Chief Silverio Alarcio Jr. summoned Gayotin last Wednesday to check on what action has been taken to address the summary executions.Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier said he will not prioritize going after the perpetrators. “As a matter of fact, I’m happy some of those killed are robbers. I’m not ashamed to admit that,” he had said. “To me, as long as there are fewer robberies and snatching, it’s not so bad.” Tolentino said they plan to go the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UN-CHR) but they will wait for the CHR to make the move first. “If wala gihapon, then our last resort is just to turn to God,” he said. If these killings remain unsolved, this will put the Philippines in a bad light in the international community, Alonso said. Amnesty International based in the United Kingdom, World Coalition Against Torture in France, and International Commission of Juries have sent letters addressed to the Philippine Government inquiring about the incidents. These letters, Alonso said, were referred to the commission, since it is the official watchdog in the country against human rights violations. These violations, he said, could be raised before the UN-CHR. The UN, however, cannot investigate in the absence of a communication or a complaint against the Philippine government. Alonso said the complainant could be another state or any state that is a member of International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights or any aggrieved party from the Philippines, such as the non-governmental organizations. A complaint, however, could only be filed before the UN after the aggrieved party has already exhausted all remedies in the national level. If a complaint is filed against the Philippine Government, the UN could conduct an investigation in two ways—confidential proceedings or in public wherein in both instances the President will be made to answer.