Press Release
June 2, 2006


If security, military and police authorities are convinced that the underground communist movement and the mutinous military troops are behind the killings of leftists militants and journalists, then let them file the necessary murder charges against the perpetrators, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said.

My take on that is maybe they have the evidence and therefore it is their obligation to arrest and prosecute whoever committed the crime of killings of activists and journalists, he said.

But Pimentel said if the security, military and police authorities could not present an iota of proof that leftist and rightist rebel forces are behind the spate of killings, this would imply that they are looking for scapegoats to conceal the real culprits and to confuse the people.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales blamed the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army for the spate of killings of members of Bayan Muna and other leftists groups that have been tagged as communist front organizations. Gonzales said the slayings are part of the infighting and purges within the underground communist movement.

On the other hand, Director Marcelo Ele, Jr., head of Philippine National Police task force investigating these killings, said the Guardians Brotherhood, composed of active and retired soldiers and policemen, may be involved in the string of killings of leftist activists and journalists.

Ele was quoted in media reports as saying: There seems to be a group out to discredit the government and make it appear that the government is either tolerating these killings or has no control over its military and police forces.

Director Ele issued the statement after police probers discovered that Rommel Lizaran, one of the three suspects in the killing of journalist and Caloocan city barangay councilor Alberto Orsolino, was an active member of the Guardians Brotherhood, headed by former Sen. Gregorio Honasan.

Pimentel said failure on the part of PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines substantiate allegations that communist and military rebels were behind the political killings would only lend credence to the long-held suspicion that they are covering up for the involvement of elements of the military and police in these crimes.

If they do not do that, it means that they must bear the responsibility for the extra-judicial killings of activists and journalists, he said.

In the case of the slaying of former National Democratic Front consultant on the peace process Sotero Llamas, Pimentel said the military was the logical suspect behind it.

The most likely suspect has to be elements of the AFP especially when you have statements from Gen. Jovito Palparan that these people should be eliminated, he said.

Pimentel said there is no way the extra-judicial killings of members of Bayan Muna and other leftist groups can be justified citing a report of Karapatan, a human rights group, that up to 603 leftist militants have been slain since 2001.

Bayan Muna may be a leftist organization. But as long as the group and its leaders do not advocate outright rebellion, their activities should be protected. And if the armed forces or police believe otherwise, they can apprehend these people, bring them to trial, and not shoot them on sight because that is a terrible thing to do, he said.

On the allegation that these extra-judicial killings are part of a destabilization plot against the Arroyo government, Pimentel said if military and police elements are responsible for these activities, then they are the ones destabilizing the government.

If they believe that these killings are part of a destabilization campaign, then they should arrest the perpetrators of these killings. Its as simple as that.

He also assailed the attempt to implicate Honasan to the killings of leftist militants and journalists in the absence of any scintilla of proof.

Judging from the fact that Honasan had been elected as senator of this land, from that perspective, I think the accusation was far-fetched and absurd. But if the government has the goods on him, let them bring the case to the courts for adjudication, Pimentel said.

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