‘I’m not going to Melo panel; Ermita cannot speak for me’ — Satur

May. 31, 2007

MANILA — House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo
today categorically denied that he has agreed to testify before the
Melo Commission regarding extrajudicial killings of activists,
including 130 members of Bayan Muna.

“I have not made any statement that we are ready to appear before the
Melo Commission. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita is not authorized
to speak for me or Bayan Muna,” said Ocampo.

Ermita made the announcement yesterday in Malacanang.

Saying that he finds no sense testifying before the Melo Commission,
Ocampo explained that “the Arroyo government has ignored its
preliminary findings, allowed Jovito Palparan to go scot-free despite
him being tagged in the panel’s report, and that he was even
encouraged to despoil the partylist elections.”

Bayan Muna Secretary-General Nathanael Santiago chastised Ermita for
“daring to speak for Bayan Muna and Ka Satur in an shameless effort to
salvage President Arroyo’s soiled human rights record that was the
subject of the protests that hounded her in Japan, New Zealand and

“There is also absolutely no truth to Ermita’s innuendoes that the
human rights group Karapatan and Ka Satur have prevented victims’
relatives from going to the Melo Commission. The truth is that the
Melo Commission prioritized the testimonies of Generals Avelino Razon,
Hermogenes Esperon and Jovito Palparan, and only after their
slanderous testimonies did the panel send invitations to the victims’
relatives,” said Santiago.

Santiago added that “by that time, the families of victims of
extrajudicial killings had completely lost trust in the Melo
Commission for prioritizing the views of the purported masterminds of
the slays and the implementors of the Oplan Bantay Laya which is
pointed as the policy behind the crimes.”

“The same policy and implementors still hold sway and the killers
remain unpunished. That is why the killings and abductions continue
unabated, and why the public, our party and the victims’ relatives do
not have trust in both the Melo Commission and the Arroyo government,”
Santiago said.

“The problem with the Melo Commission is this — it is a spawn of Mrs.
Arroyo who condones the killings and coddles the killers. Who in his
right mind will cooperate with it?” asked Santiago.

Santiago notes that no person has been convicted in court over any of
the more than 800 cases of extrajudicial killings since President
Arroyo assumed power in 2001.

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