Melo Commission Report: Presentation of Witnesses/Resource Persons

Feb. 23, 2007

13. Command Responsibility

Gen. Palparan denied the conclusion that he did not discourage soldiers under his command from taking the law into their own hands. This was inconsistent, however, with his earlier statement wherein he said I cannot order my soldiers to kill, it is their judgment call. They do it on their own.

With respect to the conclusion that Gen. Palparan did not actually exert efforts to prevent or stop the illegal acts of his soldiers, Gen. Palparan simply responded There was no illegal act on my soldiers that anyone could mention.

When asked whether or not he discouraged vigilante-style killings of activists by people or elements outside the military organization, Gen. Palparan replied I could not discourage them because I do not even know them.

Gen. Palparan agreed with the concept under the Doctrine of Command Responsibility that responsibility for summary executions or disappearance extends beyond the person or persons who actually committed those acts. Anyone with higher authority, who authorized, tolerated or ignored these acts are liable for them. In connection therewith, however, he said that his failure to investigate his soldiers allegedly responsible for some of the killings does not constitute tolerance of these acts because none of his soldiers (except in two cases) were identified.

When asked about his statement given during a forum in Sulu Hotel on August 21, 2006 I am responsible (referring to extra-judicial killings), relatively perhaps, Gen. Palparan said that his actions could have encouraged people to take the law into their own hands. Gen. Palparan, however, qualified this by saying it was not really intentional on his part.

With respect to failing to take steps at preventing these actions (extrajudicial killings), Gen Palparan stated:

So if I have, within my capacity to prevent it, I would prevent the same. But in the course of our campaign, I could have encouraged people to do that. So maaaring may responsibility ako doon, on that aspect. But how could I prevent that, we are engaged in this conflict. All my actuations really are designed to defeat the enemy. And in doing so, others might have been encouraged to take actions on their own…

whoever did this could have been encouraged by my actions and actuations in the course of my campaign, whoever they are. That is why I said relatively. If there are some soldiers, maybe then, I could have been remiss in that aspect. But we are doing our best to keep our soldiers within our mandate.

14. CPP-NPA Purge Theory

Significantly, however, when asked about CPP/NPAs participation in the political killings, he testified that the killings are not attributable to the alleged CPP/NPA purge. I dont charge it to NPA purge. He also mentioned that he had to be skeptical on th[ese] report[s].

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