Melo Commission Report: Findings

Feb. 23, 2007

1. Motive

At once, it becomes clear that perhaps a small group in the armed forces may be said to have the motives for the elimination of the civilian activists. In a great majority of the cases of activist killings, the only explanation for the victims deaths is the fact that they were allegedly rebels, or connected with the CPP/NPA. Apart from a negligible few solved cases, the PNP has not uncovered any other explanation for their killing.

As admitted by Gen. Esperon and Gen. Palparan themselves, the armed forces considers the so-called left wing and some party list organizations, and their members, enemies of the state, who should be neutralized. They qualify their statement by stating that the word neutralize does not necessarily mean killing, but should be taken in the context of their holistic approach to the war on communism that is, to include socio-civic and other works designed to bring communist rebels back to the fold of the law and thus neutralize their threat. Nonetheless, the fact that certain elements in the military would take the more direct approach to neutralizing the enemy cannot be discounted. General Palparan, for one, stated that he cannot categorically deny the possibility that some of his men may have been behind some of the killings.

No plausible explanation has been given for the rise in extrajudicial killings, except that the killings were perpetrated by the CPP-NPA pursuant to a purge of its ranks. It is argued that documents have been captured detailing this plan of the CPP/NPA, and that there are witnesses to testify to this fact. The documents and witnesses, however, despite request by the Commission, were not presented.

While the PNP stated that some of the victims may have been targeted by the CPP/NPA for alleged financial opportunism, no clear basis or evidence was presented in that regard. In fact, none of the victims was positively identified as a financial officer of the CPP/NPA. In any case, the overwhelming majority of the victims were mere students, peasants or laborers, and thus, were highly unlikely to have committed any financial opportunism. Then too, it is surprising if there indeed is an on-going purge among the ranks of the CPP-NPA, why the military has done nothing to promote or encourage such rift. Verily, if your enemies begin to fight among themselves, the result could only be to your benefit.

Moreover, it would be contradictory for the military to consider the purge theory while at the same time claim that the victims were enemies of the State. If the CPP-NPA, the avowed enemy of the State, were indeed minded to purge the victims from its ranks, then it would have been in the interest of the military to bring the victims, being possible defectors or informants, to the governments fold. Enigmatically, the military has continued to classify the victims as enemies of the state. This throws the whole purge theory out of line and makes it somewhat improbable.

More telling, however, is the fact that General Palparan himself does not believe in this purge theory, declaring that he had no reason to believe that the killings were perpetrated by the CPP/NPA.

The foregoing leads only to the conclusion that the purge theory cannot be accorded credence.

The NPA purge theory being discredited, the only other theory left is that certain elements within or connected to some military officers are responsible for the killings. The victims, according to General Palparan and others, were enemies of the State; hence, their neutralization.

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