Melo Commission Report: Presentation of Witnesses/Resource Persons

Feb. 23, 2007

8. Collateral Damage; Civilians and Local Officials; Vigilante Killings

During the course of his testimony, Gen. Palparan confirmed making the following statements:

8.1 Civilians Killed in Crossfire

My order to my soldiers is that, if they are certain that there are armed rebels in the house or yard, shoot them. It will just be too bad if civilians are killed in the process. We are sorry if you are killed in the crossfire.

9.2 Collateral Damage

There would be some collateral damage, but it will be short and tolerable. The enemy would blow it up as a massive violation of human rights. But to me, it would just be necessary incidents.

8.3 Death of Civilians and Local Officials

Sorry nalang kung may madamay na civilian; The death of civilians and local officials were small sacrifices brought about by the militarys anti-insurgency campaign. Philippine Daily Inquirer 12 September 2006

8.4 Vigilante-Style Actions by Anti-Communist Elements Outside the Military:

[T]hey cannot be stopped completely the killings, I would say are necessary incidents in a conflict because they (referring to the rebels) are violent. Its not necessary that the military alone should be blamed. We are armed, of course, and trained to confront and control violence. But other people whose lives are affected in these areas are also participating

Gen. Palparan, however, denied having made the following statements:

8.5 I encourage people victimized to get even. (Gen. Palparan said that he merely encouraged the people to defend themselves and to fight if necessary.)

8.6 Nabuo ang alsa masa sa Mindoro nuong dumating ako, kumikilos ang mga ito sa alanganing oras. May sarili silang pagkilos. Hindi na kami makapahinga kung pati lahat ng pagkilos nila ay susubaybayan namin. Nakakatulong naman sila sa paglaban sa NPA gayon din ang mga katulad ng RHB.

8.7 The killings are being attributed to me but I did not kill them, I just inspired the triggermen.

9. Responsibility of soldiers under Gen. Palparans command

Gen. Palparan denied the media report quoting him to have said: I cannot order my soldiers to kill. Its their judgment call. They do it on their own. He clarified that his correct words were:

perhaps maybe, if there are, and if they do that, thats their own responsibility, its not mine

Gen. Palparan, however, admitted uttering the phrase:

some soldiers are emotional when their comrades are hurt or killed. There could be soldiers who decide to take the law into their own hands. But thats illegal.

From the tenor of Gen. Palparans answers, he entertained the possibility that some of his soldiers may have been responsible for the killings although they were not directed by their commander. However, he stated there is still no proven incident linking any of his soldiers in any of the killings.

In fact, Gen. Palparan confirmed his statement given before the House of Representatives Committee on National Defense and Security on May 25, 2005 wherein he said: I cannot categorically deny that (referring to the military having special units, not properly identified in bonnets and masks, operating in the middle of the night.) Gen. Palparan, however, also said that if there are facts proving that they (soldiers) are engaged in such activities, he is willing to submit them. He also denounced any involvement by the AFP in the acts that may have been carried out by individual soldiers.

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