Philippines unable to stop killings due to Arroyo’s loose control of military

May. 08, 2007

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel,
Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo has failed to stop extra-judicial
killings of leftist activists in the country because
she is unable to control some officers running the
Armed Forces who are suspected to be responsible for
these heinous crimes that are linked to the
counter-insurgency campaign.

Pimentel said that because of unresolved doubts over
the legitimacy of her presidency, Mrs. Arroyo heavily
relies on the armed components of government power to
stabilize her administration.

He said that the President can no longer bank on the
time-honored democratic principle of the Rule of Law
but instead now uses the time-tested totalitarian
principle that power flows out of the barrel of the

The President is unable to stop corruption or the
extra-judicial killings because she and some of the
officers of the armed forces and the police mutually
benefit from the situation, the minority leader said.

Through their guns, select officers assure her stay
in power and while in power, she in turn takes cares
of them. It is a classic case of I scratch your back,
you scratch mine.

Pimentel said the President earns the support of the
top echelon of the armed forces and the police by
assuring them of funds officially and sometimes,
unofficially while they are in office. And after their
retirement from the service, he said juicy civilian
posts await them at the discretion of the President.

These political acrobatics, he said, buy time for the
President in that for the moment, she exercises a
semblance of control over the privileged of officers.

Malacaang watchers, however, think that it is she
who is controlled by the officers, he said. That is
why the militarization of the barangays even in the
metropolis goes on despite the failure to comply with
the constitutional mandate that, among other things,
leaves the maintenance of law and order not to armed
forces but to the civilian authorities that run the

Pimentel said this also explains why there has been no
serious effort to weed out corruption from the ranks
of the armed forces and the police.

Through armalites of select officers, he said the
President prevents the people from airing their
grievances against the administration even in a
peaceful manner.

In the guise of maintaining order, she trashes the
constitutional rights of the people to free speech and
peaceful assembly, the minority leader said.

It is the armalite-wielding men who abduct protestors
against government policies. Some of the victims wind
up in military or police safe houses where they are
tortured and subjected to indignities. Others simply
disappear, Pimentel said. And as everybody in this
country knows, it is also the armalite-wielding
hoodlums who commit extra-judicial killings with

Pimentel said the President has a tenuous hold on
power because of lingering allegations that she
grabbed power by cheating in the 2004 elections. And
because she is an interloper in Malacaang she does
not have the support of the people, he added.

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