(Second of three parts)

In many cases investigated by Bulatlat, survivors tell of harrowing stories of government soldiers and agents involved in abductions, torture, and killings. A few victims would commit suicide to end their ordeal while under extreme torture.



The administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has consistently denied that the politically-motivated killings were carried out by government forces. Instead, it blames these on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).

Human rights groups and peoples organizations believe otherwise, however. For one, they find it absurd that an organization battling the government and actively recruiting members would kill 801 and abduct 208 of its own members.

Of the 801 killed, 345 were confirmed members of organizations tagged by the AFP as front organizations. The other victims were accused of being NPA sympathizers and were killed in areas that came under intense military operations.

Three hundred forty-two were known leaders of progressive organizations. Of those leaders killed, 77 were from Central Luzon, 35 from Bicol, 76 from Southern Tagalog and 33 from the Eastern Visayas Region.

Second, the NPA, which the military claims number no more than 7,000-8,000 and is on the run, does not seem to have the capability and resources of carrying out a systematic, nationwide campaign to eliminate or neutralize (to borrow a military term) a thousand of its members. Most of the killings were carried out by motorcycle-riding men wearing ski masks. The killings were usually preceded by observations of armed men tailing the victims and staking their house. There were also reports of death threats made directly to the victims by soldiers while under questioning inside military camps or through text messages. Many victims were in the militarys Order of Battle (OB) or hit list.

The abductions, on the other hand, were carried out usually in the dead of the night, in highly-militarized areas near AFP detachments and checkpoints, and carried out by men bearing long firearms.

Third, the killings are being committed with impunity. The number of political killings and forced disappearances has been piling up even after these were condemned locally and internationally. No one has been convicted in a case of extra-judicial execution, either. Worse, AFP officers such as retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan who human rights groups call the butcher for the spate of political killings and forced disappearances in regions where he was assigned was promoted several times.

More damning to the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the AFP, however, are the first-hand accounts of survivors and witnesses, and the existence of evidences that link cases of political killings and forced disappearances to the military and other security forces.

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