By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Justice is elusive in this country, particularly in the cases of the more than 700 victims of political killings. While their cases are far from being solved by concerned government agencies, officials of the AFP are involved in systematic propaganda that lead to confusion rather than solution for these political killings.
I am referring to the latest media propaganda, allegedly by officials of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), which claims that the deaths of Jose “Pepe” Manegdeg and Albert Terredano, killed successively on November 28 and 29, 2005, were the handiwork of the NPA. The killings of Pepe and Albert were alleged by the NOLCOM document as part of the NPA internal purging (or cleansing) among their ranks.
I need to point out that the NOLCOM propaganda came out one year after the murder of Pepe and Albert. Instead of arresting the perpetrators of the crime, believed by many to be from the death squads of the AFP, the NOLCOM officials came out with lies. It is an insult to the families of Pepe and Albert, who for the past year have been patiently waiting for justice, to have this malicious NOLCOM propaganda instead.
The NOLCOM move is an act of the AFP washing its hands and covering up for its inutility in serving its primary constitutional role to serve and protect the people.
Not content with its propaganda, NOLCOM dragged the name of human rights worker Josephine Perez. The officials linked Perez, whom I personally know as a human right worker, to the underground movement as allegedly one of its leading personalities. The NOLCOM even claimed that Perez and Pepe were not in good terms “so it is possible that she (Perez) set up the victim.”
What a baseless accusation against Pepe and Perez!
I must point out that the military, in its bid to pin down Perez, earlier initiated court cases of frustrated multiple murder against her and others based on alleged ambushes committed by NPA members. The military failed to prove in court that Perez was involved in the ambushes and had links with the NPA. Hence, the court dismissed all the cases as they were all patently concocted lies.
That experience proved that the AFP cannot have its concocted case prosper in court. So they need to find ways to discredit Perez like they are doing now. But in doing so, they violate the human rights of the people they are supposed to protect.
I am one of those who have expecting justice for the killing of Pepe and Albert. I am slowly being convinced that justice is elusive; and, I am one of those who condemn the propaganda of the NOLCOM.
The constitution provides that the primary role of the AFP is to serve and protect the people. Reality shows otherwise. The government is ruled by the military, headed by its commander-in-chief. There are at least 21 former generals who presently occupy cabinet ranks in the civilian bureaucracy. Many former officers of the AFP and PNP occupy lower cabinet rank positions. It included former Police General Arturo Lomibao who now occupies the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Some will say that ex-generals are no longer with the military, and are now considered civilians. But we all know that the military mindset is not so easily shed off, and that retired officers maintain close links with officers still in active service. Isn’t this situation thus leading into de facto military rule? Can this be a contributory on why the democratic rights of civilians are being violated? #