Melo Commission Report: Introduction

Feb. 23, 2007

A. Factual backdrop

In the wake of a disturbing wave of unexplained killings of civilian activists and media personnel, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued Administrative Order No. 157 entitled Creating an Independent Commission to Address Media and Activist Killings. The Commission was given the task to prioritize and focus investigation of media and activist killings and thereafter to submit recommendations to the President on policies and actions, including prosecution and legislative proposals, if any, aimed at eradicating the root causes of the extrajudicial killings and breaking such cycle of violence. Necessarily, the Commissions first and foremost task was to determine the root cause of the said killings, and if possible, the persons or interest group responsible therefor.

The Commission was not created to solve the killings, or any of them, by pinpointing the actual gunmen involved. Neither will the Commission prosecute who it believes are the persons behind such killings. Those tasks, which would take years and an army of investigators and prosecutors to finish, would be best left to the regularly constituted law enforcement authorities and the Department of Justice.

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