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DILG should urge Task Force Usig to really investigate all political killings - KMU

2008/01/21 - 4:54pm
Instead of praising Task Force Usig and serving as its amplifier/spokesperson, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) should be apologizing to the public for having failed, so far, to do their part in solving and stopping the spate of political killings in the administration of Ms Arroyo, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Chairperson Elmer ‘Ka Bong’ Labog  said today.  

Reacting on the DILG’s praise of a Task Force Usig report, Labog said that if this is part of the administration and the Philippine National Police’s pabaon for Ms Arroyo’s junket in Davos, Switzerland, a buffet of self-patting data that she could serve abroad to allay the fears of international critics of political slaying in the Philippines, then the DILG and PNP have only added damnable data to their boss’s questionable human rights’ record.

According to the Task Force Usig report, it has handled only 114 cases, or just a tenth of the reported 887 cases of political killings that occurred in the Philippines since Mrs Arroyo became president.


“ It is pathetic that mere handling of just a tenth of reported cases of extrajudicial killings would already qualify as “commendable feat” in the eyes of Interior Assistant Secretary Danilo Valero,  Labog opined. In this supposedly commendable feat, the KMU official noted that “an astonishing number” of 58 cases saw charges filed against suspects while another 53 got became “cold.” “If that qualifies as commendable, then Ms Arroyo must be in dire need of commendation, “ the labor leader added.


As Task Force Usig is an ad-hoc Philippine National Police body created to make it appear the Arroyo government is doing something to investigate the spate of extrajudicial killings,  Labog added that it is not unexpected that the task force will implement the Arroyo and its military’s line on political killings – that the killings should be blamed on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). “ So, it really isn’t surprising that Task Force Usig’s pitifully few handled cases had sought to blame these revolutionary organizations," said Labog.


“ But why did Interior Assistant Secretary Danilo Valero fail to say something about how even Task Force Usig had to report that the military and police are connected to the spate of political killings. Valero had been so eager to “puncture” the left’s “wild claim” that the government isn’t doing something, or worse, is perpetrating the killings.”


In Task Force Usig’s own report, it has found that soldiers and paramilitary elements, civilians with links to the military and police personnel had been involved in some cases of political killings. These include the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, 56th Infantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Group.


“ If DILG wishes to provide its boss, Ms. Arroyo, with a nice send-off that she could use to advance her leadership reputation at least internationally, then the DILG should call for fast and fair investigation of all cases of political killings and abduction, “  Labog ended.


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