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Heads must roll in the military – Anakbayan

July 5, 2010

Youth group condemns 1st activist killing under Noynoy

In the wake of the first assassination of an activist under the Aquino Administration, youth group Anakbayan today challenged Noynoy to swiftly go after the perpetrators.

On the morning of July 5, Fernando Baldomero was shot in front of his house in Brgy. Estancia, Aklan, while bringing his children to school. The Bayan Muna coordinator for the island is the first activist slain since Aquino was sworn into power.

“Noynoy must send a strong message that his Administration, unlike the previous one, will not tolerate human rights violations. For that, heads must roll in the military” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.

According to the youth leader, the military under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo carried out a policy of assassinating and abducting gov’t critics, and cited as evidence among the following:

–          The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ commissioning in 2004 of a powerpoint presentation entitled ‘Know Your Enemy’ which tagged leftist groups as ‘communist fronts’.

–          The results of the 2007 investigation of UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Philip Alston, which debunked the AFP’s claims that activist killings were carried out by the New People’s Army, and instead pointed to the former as the prime suspects.

–          A Supreme Court decision in 2008 which linked retired Army Gen. Jovito Palparan to the abduction of farmer Raymond Manalo, and student activists Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

“Noynoy should crack the whip on his Defense and Justice Secretaries to launch a full-blown investigation on the murder of Baldomero. They should also sack and/or also file cases against military and government officials who will block or slow down the process. There should be no ‘sacred cows’ in this matter” he said.

Dulce meanwhile expressed apprehension over the recent statements of new AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr., saying they ‘set the tone for the continuation of wanton human rights violations by the military’.

In a press conference last Friday, the former said “For as long as it will not compromise our national security, the AFP also in its operations (sic) will continue to be protector of human rights (sic) and will continue to respect human law and international humanitarian law”.

“It sounds like the new military head is considering human rights as something to be discarded if it hampers military operations. We’d like to remind him that it is not something optional” said Dulce.

He added “The timing of Baldomero’s killing, which happened almost immediately after David’s statement, is nothing short of sinister”.

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