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AJLLP Joins the Call for the Removal of AFP Chief and NSA Chief in the Philippines

by First Quarter Storm Network-USA Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007 at 8:12 AM 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026

he Alliance- Philippines (AJLPP)-USA supports the call of -- party list group Bayan Muna (People First) and other pro-people groups that demanded the sacking of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Armed Forces chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and the prosecution of retired major general Jovito Palparan, now a Department of Justice security adviser for the political killings in the country.

AJLLP Joins the Call for the Removal of AFP Chief and NSA Chief in the Philippines

Los Angeles -- The Alliance- Philippines (AJLPP)-USA supports the call of -- party list group Bayan Muna (People First) and other pro-people groups that demanded the sacking of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Armed Forces chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and the prosecution of retired major general Jovito Palparan, now a Department of Justice security adviser for the political killings in the country.

The AJLPP-USA is in soldiairty with Representatives Teodoro Casiño and Satur Ocampo of BAYAN MUNA that challenged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to "act decisively" by issuing an official order to military commanders and their men not to carry out attacks on leftist activists.

AJLPP likewise support the people's militant call for the scrapping of the government's counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bantay-Laya (Operation Guard Freedom), and an immedaite stop to the harassment of progressive party-list groups.

"The ball is in the hands of Malacañang" after United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston announced his initial findings and the Palace-created Melo Commission submitted its report to Arroyo, BAYAN MUNA told reporters at a briefing in Quezon City.

"Malacañang has to act on the recommendations of both," the group said, adding:

"Apart from sacking Esperon and National Security Adviser Gonzales, GMA [Arroyo] should come out with a general order for all the Armed Forces men in uniform that they should not be part of, or at the least tolerate, any extrajudicial killing."

At the same briefing, an emotional Ocampo said: "To stop the political killings, the government should sack Esperon and Norberto Gonzales, and focus on drawing up measures to avoid more political killings."

"At this point, President Macapagal-Arroyo can't just be silent. Either she sides with the killers or with the victims. She has no choice; she can't stay neutral."

Meanwhile Teddy Casiño also proposed that Malacañang fire field commanders unable to stop the killings in their areas of operation.

"They say Palparan is past being held accountable because he's retired. But there are many colonels and generals in the field where human rights violations are happening. The government should act decisively on this if only to show the people and the international community that [it] is really serious about prosecuting [the perpetrators] and putting a stop to the killings," Ocampo said.

BAYAN MUNA said that despite being retired, Palparan should be prosecuted, especially in view of the findings of the investigating body headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo.

"The Melo Report was correct in pointing out that in the cases studied, it was really the military which was responsible for the extrajudicial killings. There's no other conclusion that you can draw. The Melo Commission merely confirms what we've been saying. And it vindicates our human rights groups and victims," BAYAN MUNA said.

AJLPP meawhile is satisfied with the Melo report because it stopped at the level of Palparan and "absolved" the military brass as well as the President of accountability.

AJLLP said that while it was a good thing that Alston's report plugged the gaps: "Alston did not stop at saying that these were carried out by rogue elements. He concluded that the government's counterinsurgency program and moves to demonize the progressive groups had a lot to do with these."

This, was "the missing link" in the Melo Report. "It absolves the President; it absolves the higher-ups. They made it look like it's all Palparan's fault. That is not the case," the AJLPP added.

AJLLP is glad that regarding the US-Arroyo's Oplan Bantay-Laya, Alston had also recommended an overhaul of the government’s counterinsurgency program, the AJLPP reiterate that: "[The program is] obviously defective. It provides for the environment where the killings are happening. It should be withdrawn immediately."

AJLPP noted that more than 834 persons were killed including 50 journalist proving the Philippines is an anti-communist killing fields.


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