Philip Alston, a United Nations rapporteur, has been sent to the Philippines to investigate over 800 judicial killings blamed on government security forces. Mr Alston accuses the army of being “in denial.”
Ten days, Mr Alston has been in the country to conduct his investigation. But Mr Alston, it may take only take ten days to make conclusions, but it will take some knowledge of the Filipino character to make better ones.
This may be true of other people not only of Filipinos, but even when caught red-handed, the Filipino will deny everything. They will take you for a fool. They will see how far they can go, and will go the entire way. They are fantastic liars.
The Philippine Army are not “in denial.” They are not ostriches, hiding themselves from reality. They are feigning ignorance, and hope that you will believe it and go away peacefully. If that doesn’t hold water, they will blame the crime on another — a faction or a scapegoat, while continuing to hope that you will believe it and go away.
If a problem doesn’t go away, Filipinos have absolutely no compunction in “removing” the problem by any means, and murder is the Filipino’s quick solution. And in conjunction with the religious upbringing of this nation, the paradox is that they will deny committing it.
UN Probes Extra-Judicial Killings: “We want the U.N. official to look at the systematic pattern of killings,” Harry Roque, professor of international and constitutional law at the University of Philippines, told IPS over telephone from Manila.
Human rights groups are hoping, however, that the killing of politicians will not pre-occupy Alston’s agenda, since such political murders, they say, are different from the violent campaign being directed at individuals challenging the agenda of the government or of some multi-national companies.
Victims over the past six years have included trade unionists, farmers’ rights activists, people from indigenous communities, lawyers, journalists, human rights campaigners and men of religion.
Philippine Political Killings and Human Rights: The common features in the methodology of the attacks, leftist profile of the victims, and an apparent culture of impunity shielding the perpetrators, has led Amnesty International to believe that the killings are not an unconnected series of criminal murders, armed robberies or other unlawful killings. Rather they constitute a pattern of politically targeted extrajudicial executions taking place within the broader context of a continuing counter-insurgency campaign. The organisation remains gravely concerned at repeated credible reports that members of the security forces have been directly involved in the attacks, or else have tolerated, acquiesced to, or been complicit in them.
A Rotten Criminal Justice System: … The police are the first and biggest obstacle to victims and their families obtaining justice in the Philippines. Where family members and witnesses come forward, they often find that police investigations contradict their versions of incidents. Police investigators sometimes make premature pronouncements about the motive for a killing and its cause, flatly rejecting alternative suggestions, particularly where state officers or persons allegedly connected to them are among the possible suspects.
Under section 14(2) of the Constitution of the Philippines “the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved.” In practice the public labeling of accused persons or victims as “communist fronts,” “destabilizers,” “enemies of the state,” or “terrorists” negates this presumption and allows officials to do away with due process. The double standards in implementation of laws are most obvious in cases where such labels are applied. The use of labels also exposes victims, their families and colleagues to the possibility of further violence, and denies them any hope of protection. Once a person or organization has been labeled “leftist” or “enemy” then there is no possibility of safety. Whatever they may or may not have done, they are in a special category of persons and groups guilty by suspicion, for who the ordinary laws and procedures, to the limited extent they operate for everyone else, are suspended.
Anybody extrajudicially killed in the Philippines is likely to be labeled a leftist by virtue of the police having made a blanket assessment that these killings are the result of an “internal purge” within the communist movement….
update: 25 April 2007
Arroyo Government Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity — Hague Tribunal: The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal based in The Hague, The Netherlands handed down a guilty verdict yesterday against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Philippine government for “crimes against humanity” in connection with charges of extrajudicial killings, abductions and disappearances, massacres, and torture perpetrated against civilians.