MANILA, Philippines — Former Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo Wednesday said he was standing by the finding of the fact-finding commission on extrajudicial killings that certain military officials should be held accountable by virtue of “command responsibility.”
“But definitely, hindi aabot kay (it will not reach) President Arroyo as commander in chief,” Melo said in a phone interview.
He said the military accountability would be limited to “immediate commanders” of soldiers who were linked to the killings, like retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former commander in Mindoro, Samar and Central Luzon.
Melo said he was glad that Malacañang has finally decided to make public on Thursday the findings of the fact-finding body which he submitted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last month.
“Good, good,” he also said in reference to the initial findings of United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston.
But Melo said the President had already begun implementing the recommendations he had made in his 89-page report.
He said these included the creation of special courts to try the extrajudicial killings and the strengthening of the witness protection program.
Melo said the Armed Forces had also begun holding an awareness program on command responsibility for military officers.
“The lower-ranking officers are being made aware of this doctrine,” he said.–Fe Zamora, Inquirer