January 30, 2007


Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Sec. Gen. Mobile No. 09178176274

Ruth Cervantes, Public Information Officer Mobile No. 09153002684



`Melo did note get to the bottom of killings' - KARAPATAN


The Melo Commission turned a blind eye on the glaring fact that the extrajudicial killings under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration are a matter of state policy.  It did not get to the bottom of the nationwide, systematic extrajudicial killings that is so rampant, even the international community is alarmed.


Human rights advocates and organizations under the banner of KARAPATAN felt vindicated about the Melo Commission being a great whitewashing machine for the Arroyo regime.  It had exculpated the Arroyo regime's responsibility when it said that the killings are done by soldiers on their own volition.


For six years, the killings and disappearances are so wide-spread and systematic and had been victimizing the unarmed population of our country it could only be because of a state policy called Oplan Bantay Laya that sanctions it.


What the Melo Commission said about Palparan is nothing new, in fact, it is lacking because more than command responsibility, Palparan is an implementor of Oplan Bantay Laya. But then again, if the Melo panel says that, they would then have to say that the President and Commander-in-Chief Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had been presiding over a war of annihilation against the Filipino citizenry.


The Melo Commission has not and will not get to the bottom of the killings because it had been loyal to Mrs. Arroyo and not to the truth.  It had questionable procedures and is biased towards the perpetrators.   Thus, despite its existence, the policy is still in place and the killings and disappearances continue with impunity.


With the declaration of Oplan Bantay Laya II, ten lives were claimed by military death squads in Bicol, Cagayan Valley and Samar this month alone. ###
Note:  AS per KARAPATAN Documentation Committee tabulation
   *    143 victims of extrajudicial killings during the tour of duty of Gen. Palparan in Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon.
   *     830 victims of extrajudicial killings since Mrs. Arroyo came to power in 2001. (Data as of Jan 30, 2007)  365 of the 830 victims were activists.

KARAPATAN is an umbrella organization of human rights advocates, organizations and desks established in 1995.   It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.