Melo Commission Report: Presentation of Witnesses/Resource Persons

Feb. 23, 2007

6. Internal Territorial Defense System

In the Newsweek article entitled Wagging the Buffalo, the following was also mentioned:

In the Central Luzon province of Nueva Ecija, Palparan’s anti-communist strategy is to engage locals, gather intelligence and identify outside agitators. Small military teams block access to so-called militants representing political parties like Bayan Muna and Akbayan, which Palparan considers “a different face of [communist] political warfare that’s not healthy for our democracy.” The goal, he says, is to neutralize rebel activities by empowering the “silent majority.” To that end, the military is creating village-level militia to keep rebels and activists out after soldiers depart.

When Gen. Palparan was asked about the accuracy of the report, he initially refused to comment on it. Upon further questioning, however, he qualified some of the points raised therein:

6.1 Empowering the Silent Majority

Gen. Palparan said that the greater majority of the people are usually threatened by a small group of bad elements, the CPP-NPA. The majority should be empowered to defend themselves if they are attacked or propagandized even by fighting, if necessary.

6.2 Village-Level Militia

Gen. Palparan said that the term village-level militia is not accurate because according to him, the correct term is Internal Territorial Defense System or Barangay Defense System. He explained that once the AFP leaves after clearing an area from enemy influence, the residents of that area should be encouraged to organize as a group in order to defend themselves from intruders.

6.3 Correlation between Defense System and escalated killings

In an article entitled Palparan: I Encouraged Civilians to Fight Back published in the August 22, 2006 issue of Manila Standard Today, Gen. Palparan was reported to have admitted that wherever he was assigned, the killings escalated. When initially asked about the veracity of the article, Gen. Palparan denied the accuracy of the statement. After further questioning, however, he qualified the statement by saying that the killings were already rampant before his arrival. Thereafter, the incidents of killings would increase during the start of his campaign for a period of about five to six weeks and then afterwards, there is a drastic reduction in the number of killings.

7. Specific inquiries on escalated number of extrajudicial killings during Gen. Palparans Tours Of Duty

Gen. Palparan was asked to confirm the contents of lists of victims of extrajudicial executions during his tours of duty in Mindoro (35 killings), Eastern Visayas (22 killings) and Central Luzon (75 killings) but he refused to confirm or deny the accuracy of the said lists because he said he did not have any knowledge of these facts. Moreover, Gen. Palparan refused to give credence to the said lists because they were prepared by Karapatan.

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