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PHILIPPPINE MILITARY CHIEF CALLS BAYAN MUNA's OCAMPO, CASINO -"ENEMIES OF THE STATE.&

by Philippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante) Friday, Sep. 15, 2006 at 10:38 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Philippine ARMED FORCES of the Philippines chief of staff, General Hermogenes Esperon yesterday said some party-list representatives, including Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño, were enemies of the state hiding behind the legitimate cover of their organization, Bayan Muna. On the other hand, the Philippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante)-USA based in Los Angeles, in a statement issued today, September 14, 2006 vehemently criticized Esperon’s statement against Ocampo and Casino and other leaders of the progressive mass organizations in the Philippines. “Esperon’s statement is a clear military’s anti communist mind-set. It’s bunker mentality that foments anti-communist with-hunting and a clear signal for the military death squads to go after progressive mass leaders.”

AFP Chief of Staff General Esperon calls BAYAN MUNA’s Ocampo, Casiño --‘ enemies of the state’

Manila-- Philippine ARMED FORCES of the Philippines chief of staff, General Hermogenes Esperon yesterday said some party-list representatives, including Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño, were enemies of the state hiding behind the legitimate cover of their organization, Bayan Muna.

Testifying before the commission formed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to look into extrajudicial executions, General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. also said that the AFP’s “total war” policy did not include political killings.

The AFP Chief of staff cahrged that the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was responsible for the deaths of 843 civilians since Ms Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001. Leftist groups have reported around 700 political slayings and said the military and police were behind them. The Inquirer has listed 247 assassinations.

The five-member commission headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo held its second hearing amid reports that Finland and Spain were sending teams to monitor the spate of killings in the country.The presence of foreign monitoring teams at the invitation of the Philippine government should “erase misconceptions that the government is not doing anything significantly to cope with the situation,” Melo said.

During the hearing, an Inquirer report – one of the main Manila newspaper was read to Esperon. In it, retired Major General Jovito Palparan was quoted as saying that party-list groups were nothing more than communist fronts and that Casiño and Ocampo were “enemies of the state.”

Esperon was asked if Palparan’s view was shared by the entire AFP. Esperon said that he considered the CPP, the NPA and the National Democratic Front (NDF) as “enemies of the state.”

“We are a democratic society and they are trying to overthrow the democratic system through violent means,” Esperon said.He said that while leftist organizations, such as Bayan Muna, were not enemies of the state, some of their members belonged to the CPP-NPA-NDF, “conveniently hiding behind the legitimate cover.”

If Palparan had tagged Ocampo an “enemy of the state,” Esperon said this was based on Ocampo’s membership in the CPP-NPA in the 1970s. “He was prompted by Ocampo’s past,” Esperon said.

Palparan retired on Monday as commander of the 7th Infantry Division. Called a “butcher,” he has been accused of engaging in political killings.

Esperon brought copies of military manuals on human rights, standard rules of engagement, protection of noncombatants, rules of behavior in combat and the military code of ethics and said they were reading materials for soldiers and officers.

“The Armed Forces unconditionally abide and respect human rights. We abhor summary killings,” Esperon said in his opening statement. He said the military had proof that NPA guerrillas were behind the political executions.

Pesante-USA Denounces Esperon’s Anti-Communist Witch Hunting

On the other hand, the Philippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante)-USA based in Los Angeles, in a statement issued today, September 14, 2006 vehemently criticized Esperon’s statement against Ocampo and Casino and other leaders of the progressive mass organizations in the Philippines.

“Esperon’s statement is a clear military’s anti communist mind-set. It’s bunker mentality that foments anti-communist with-hunting and a clear signal for the military death squads to go after progressive mass leaders.”

“It’s essentially doublespeak. While they are professing respect for human rights, they are hunting down activists, denouncing them as “enemies of the state” like what Esperon has just done in front of the Melo Commission rendering inutile all pretensions of a sense of fair play and even going to the motions of fact-finding.”

“What can we expect from a Gloria cheater in the last election but to act as a pretorian guard for the fake president who relies on facist men like Esperon to stay in power? Pesante-USA statement ended.

Also yesterday, the NDF said the European Commission’s expression of concern over the series of political killings showed that Ms Arroyo’s trip to Europe had turned into a “tour of shame.”

NDF: GMA Melo CommisionNot credible

Also from the Netherlands, former priest Luis Jalandoni, chair of the NDF panel, said the composition of the Melo Commission, a supposedly independent body formed to look into the killings of leftist activists and journalists, and Task Force Usig had failed to dampen the criticisms.

“These are not credible as independent fact-finding bodies since they are clearly taking their cues from [Ms Arroyo],” Jalandoni said in a statement.

“Her invitation to private individuals or impartial bodies from abroad falls flat on its face. It is another vain attempt to deceive,” he added. #####

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