Philippines: Bayan Muna calls for joint congressional probe on slays

Jun. 20, 2007

MANILA — Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casio today called
on the House to jointly investigate with the Senate the military’s
culpability in the continuing killings of activists critical of the
Arroyo administration.

“A joint congressional hearing will express the sense of both the
Senate and the House that extrajudicial executions have no place in
civilized society and that the masterminds and perpetrators, be they
coming from the state security forces, should be held accountable,”
said Ocampo.

“Members of Congress should match the commitment of Senator-elect
Antonio Trillanes and other senators to ferret out the truth about the
ceaseless massacre of innocents which of late claimed the life of one
of our leaders in Bohol,” said Ocampo, referring to Mario Auxilio, the
partylist group’s secretary-general for the province who died Sunday
after sustaining two gunshot wounds in an attack by an identified
military asset.

According to Ocampo, “the nation and the international community
expects both chambers of Congress, not just the Senate, to help shed
light on the cold-blooded murder of activists who the military
routinely tag as enemies of the state.”

Casio meanwhile called on Malacaang and the AFP top brass to fully
cooperate with any legislative investigation.

“In the 13th Congress, the military snubbed the House hearings three
times and in one lamentable incident even sent spies to scare
witnesses. A joint hearing will, hopefully, have the necessary clout
to make the AFP cooperate,” he said.

Casio also warned Malacaang against coddling military officials
implicated in the killings. “This time, Gen. Esperon and his officers
should not hide behind the President’s Executive Order 464 or
Memorandum Circular 108 to justify their non-appearance, as they did
previously. For its part, Malacaang should not coddle the AFP top
brass and instead order them to attend all hearings on the killings,”
said Casio.

He said the investigations should center on how the AFP’s
counter-insurgency program called Oplan Bantay Laya included activists
in the military’s list of targets for military action, including
neutralization and physical elimination. “The inquiry should look into
how Oplan Bantay Laya is being implemented in the field and the AFP’s
use of covert intelligence operatives in extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearances.”

In the 13th Congress, the Batasan 6 solons of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis
and Gabriela filed House Concurrent Resolution 32 and Joint Resolution
17 seeking to establish a special and independent commission,
respectively, to investigate the slays. The House did not act on the
two resolutions. ###

IMPORTANT NOTICE: INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to davaotoday @ Davao Today is not responsible for the content of these materials. The opinion expessed in these items does not reflect those of Davao Today and its staff. Please refer to our terms of use/disclaimer.

comments powered by Disqus