Last Thursday, June 28, 2007, Human Rights Watch released Scared Silent: Impunity for Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines.
The Human Rights Watch Report echoes the findings of reports made by both the UN and Amensty International that there is strong evidence that in addition to being passive and ineffective in reacting to extrajudicial killings, military forces are directly responsible for a number of extrajudicial killings.
On Monday, July 2, 2007, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales began his first day as the temporary caretaker of the Department of National Defense.
In an impromptu speech after taking over as officer in charge, Gonzales stated that left militant groups have been successful in their propaganda campaign of blaming the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of extrajudicial killings of journalists and especially leftist activists. In Gonzales’ words, “The enemies of our people, the enemies of the State have been very successful in showing as if we are the ones doing wrong when we’re offering our lives in the defense of what we know to be the best for our people, our freedom, our democracy,” Gonzales said. “We are accused of extrajudicial killings. This cannot be allowed to happen.”
So, basically, Gonzales is saying that Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and Amnesty International, three world-renown and highly respected organizations, have no idea how to conduct research. The time and resources these organizations have so generously spent on our nation, to try to better it, are in vain because for all the research and fieldwork that their so-called “experts” conducted, they simply reported left propaganda.
What’s funny is that Gonzales’ reaction echoes these organizations’ findings that the government seems to be simply refuses to take responsibility on two fronts: responsibility for the killings and responsibility for the protection of its citizens (which any political theorist will tell you is among the most basic reasons for the existence of government at all.)
De-Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt.