Philippine Govt bars NDF from probe
into extra judicial killings
By Mark Ivan Roblas, Correspondent
THE government won’t allow the participation of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in an investigation into extrajudicial executions in the country, charging that the group itself is guilty of the crimes.
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the government is considering the possibility of setting up an independent body to monitor and investigate the killings and disappearances, but the NDF will have no part in it.
The NDF last week disclosed its willingness to work with the Philippine government to determine the facts surrounding the killings and disappearances and find the victims, “dead or alive.”
In a letter to lawyer Sedfrey Candelaria, chairman of the monitoring committee, the NDF Human Rights Committee proposes the formation of an ad-hoc joint committee, composed of independent members, to look into the killings and disappearances of suspected revolutionaries.
To ensure the impartiality of the committee, Fidel Agcaoili, chairman of the NDF committee, suggested that observers be appointed to it. He named as observers Mercedes Contreras-Danenberg and Aileen Bacalso from the government and Bishop Tomas Millamena and Marie Hilao-Enriquez from the NDF.
“To ensure further objectivity and guarantee the security of the committee, we are also proposing that a representative each from the Royal Norwegian Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross sit as observers,” he said.
But Gonzales shot down the idea. The NDF, he claimed, does not have the moral probity to be part of the investigation since it is a major violator of human rights itself. In fact, he said, its record in this respect is so bad that “the United States and the European Union have included it in their terrorist list.”
Gonzales said the NDF’s violation of human rights is “comparable to, if not worse than, that of the Marcos dictatorship.”
“The government is as eager as everyone else to halt the killings and solve these cases,” Gonzales said. “President Arroyo’s recent order to the police and the Department of Justice to resolve these cases in ten weeks sprung from a sincere desire to prosecute and punish the perpetrators.”