Palace hits ‘leftist propaganda’ on killings

Published by rudy Date posted on February 22, 2007

Malacañang hit yesterday what it called leftist propaganda to undermine the government’s efforts to end the unexplained killings in the country.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye claimed there are some efforts to muddle the issue and make it appear that the government is behind the murder of leftist militants and journalists.

Bunye reiterated the government is not hiding anything from the investigation into the unexplained killings.

He said President Arroyo personally invited the United Nations and European Union to send representatives and help local authorities investigate the killings.

Bunye noted the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and militant groups have jointly accused the government and security forces behind the killings and gave separate statements amid the investigations being made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), which sent a representative to the country to clarify the issue.

“Human rights is a universal issue which the Philippines is determined to uphold, notwithstanding the fact that we have to fight an insurgency that uses propaganda to project the contrary,” Bunye said.

Bunye maintained most of the killings were staged by the NPA as part of the fresh wave of purging of its ranks of suspected spies and informants.

He said President Arroyo is determined to uphold the recommendations of the Melo Commission, the fact-finding body formed last year to investigate the killings.

“The recommendations of the initial Melo report have been ordered implemented by President Arroyo and are now part of our uncompromising effort to stop these killings permanently,” he said.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said Malacañang has not withheld the Melo Commission report from the visiting UN officials led by Special Rapporteur Philip Alston.

On Wednesday, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Malacañang would not provide the UN officials the copies of the report as it is still preliminary.

Bunye said the following day that the report was “inconclusive” since the commission has yet to wrap up its investigative work.

“The President asked me on Tuesday to furnish them (UN) officials copies and I had to make formal transmittals to them,” Gonzales explained on the apparent delay in giving copies of the Melo report.

Gonzales said the media would not yet be given copies of the report but only “appropriate bodies” that would make the formal request.

On the other hand, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz called on Malacañang to fully disclose before the public the report of the Melo Commission.

Cruz warned President Arroyo should make public the contents of the investigation or it would only stir speculations that the government is hiding something. –Paolo Romero, The Philippine STAR with Evelyn Macairan

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