Thursday, July 13, 2006

Catholic Bishops Denounce Killings By Communist Insurgents

The Pastoral Statement of the Catholic Bishop's Conference contains an eyeopening statement on killings being perpetrated by insurgents that have come to the attention of local dioceses:
26. Extra-Judicial Killings.

On extra-judicial killings, the CBCP stand is of long standing. We have issued statements on this issue in the past. Needless to say, we join the outcry of groups that have denounced the increasing number of extra-judicial killings of journalists and social activists suspected as sympathizers of insurgents allegedly by some ultra-rightist elements in the military. But at the same time, we cannot close our eyes to the great number of extra-judicial killings that sometimes do not come to light in the newspapers but are known to us in our dioceses. These are killings reported by our people as allegedly perpetrated by insurgents for various reasons, such as agaw-armas operations,the failure to pay a revolutionary tax, or "blood-debt to the people."

These we also unequivocally denounce. The defense of human rights and of human dignity must itself be just. It has to be impartial, irrespective of religious belief or ideology.
Speaking to ANC's Ricky Carandang on The Big Picture just now, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said that the Bishops have a "a long list of people" who've been killed not by the government, but as a result of NPA raids on police stations to capture weapons and ammo, in the collection of revolutionary taxes and other extortion/protection rackets run by the communist armed groups. So far, as both Ricky and Lagdameo noted, the Media reportage has painted a one-sided picture of who is commiting these "extrajudicial" killings. I've put quote marks on the word "extrajudicial" because I realize now that this term is loaded against the government and the military. I've opined in numerous recent posts that people should not assume that all or even most of these murders are all the work of rightist of paramilitary groups, though some undoubtedly are. Likewise, the murder of journalists cannot possibly be blamed on any one single cause or perpetrator. These revelations by Lagdameo reflect the reality that the communist insurgency in the Philippines has taken a heavy toll in human life, especially out in the countrysides, where indeed the Catholic Church cannot ignore them, as they surely oversee the last, tragic rights for the victims of the CPP NPA. I'm glad they've weighed in on this issue because it sounds like they know what is really going on! Shame on Media that beats its chest about "the right of the public to know!"

UNCLEAR AND AMBIGUOUS: Groans of disappointment can be heard in many places over the "disinclination" of the Bishops to support the second impeachment complaints. I was not at all surprised at their basic position, but I was aghast at the mangled, confused statement of it:
24. Impeachment.

We wish to make the CBCP position clear and unambiguous on the present impeachment plans:

24.1. We are undoubtedly for the search for truth. Therefore, in all sincerity we respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth.

24.2. But as Bishops reflecting and acting together as a body in plenary assembly, in the light of previous circumstances, we are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth. For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizen's negative perception of politicians, left, right and center.
Dong Puno Live had the good commentary on this matter, mainly from Prof. Magay of the University of the Philippines. She pointed out how contradictory it was to want a search for the truth but not to support the impeachment, since it IS the only peaceful, Constitutional means of getting at the truth for a high official like the President, who can't otherwise be used. She also criticized the Bishop's position as one of "bad prophesy" by predicting certain failure of the impeachment process and bad faith on both sides, instead of promoting a "culture of hope." Touché, Prof!

WHAT SCARES BISHOPS ABOUT SEX AND SEX ED? They are afraid the kids will find out that sex is fun and all become sluts and studs. That became obvious after Tina Monson Palma asked a Deped official if "the joy of sex" was part of their sex education plans. To which she got a shivering, shuddering, "Oh no, we would never teach children that!".

Under tremendous pressure from the Catholic Church, the Deped has completely capitulated and halted a pilot program on reproductive health classes for high school seniors while the Opus Dei cuts and pastes "abstinence" and "chastity" all over the course content. The Inquisitor-Censor is again Antonio Torralba of the University of Asia and Pacific. This is the same person who caused the ABOLITION of Grades One and Two Science courses in all public elementary schools starting with the 2002 Basic Ed Curriculum.
22. The Family under Siege.

We are deeply troubled by attempts to legislate or make as state policy ideas that tend to weaken or even destroy cherished religious values regarding the nature of life, the nature of marriage as union of man and woman, child bearing, the values formation of children, etc. Such ideas are part of an orientation that is fundamentally secularistic and materialistic, separated from their religious and moral roots. We find them in pending bills about population, marriage and family, reproductive health, and sex education in schools. The Filipino family is ill-served by these developments. As the foundation of a civilization of life and love, the family is most seriously threatened. Therefore, Catholic lay groups as well as our Bishops' Commission on Family and Life have made many public interventions about these and they shall continue to do so.
Oh well, expect some lurid exposés on the sex and private lives of the Bishops from the Main Stream Media...

16 comments:

manuelbuencamino said...

djb,

Me too. I'm glad the bishops condemned extra-judicial killings by the NPA. Many times the scales are weighed on Joma's side because the State has to bear the burden of acting within the law. That is not required of outlaws. However, since Joma himself has declared that there are two governments in the Philippines and that his party rules certain liberated zones then the same standard of behavior expected of a government applies to him.In those areas, he is the law and the government is the outlaw. He cannot engage in summary killings.
So the bishops are correct to condemn all summary killings.

also, like you i smell money laundering in the bolante arrest. He couldn't have been carrying it with him because he would have been busted by customs instead of INS.

Rizalist said...

MB, re jocjoc, if the theory is correct, he will be able to escape the Senate! But maybe Jun Magsaysay is the Man on a Horse who quietly strode in the saloon.

manuelbuencamino said...

djb,

Let's hope it's the Last Day Saloon, one of my old hang-outs in Georgetown.

postigo luna said...

DJB, thanks for the comment you left on my blog. This is kinda off-strat, but here's what I said in reply:

"DJB,

Great suggestions. This is exactly the scenario we had in mind for electronic transmission in 2004, so yes, there was development along these lines back then. However, to make these things work, the counting machines had to be capable of electronic transmission - which the existing law (RA 8436) did not, and still does not, squarely provide for.

As a work around, we can probably use our VSATs even with manual counting, but then the problem will be the trustworthiness of the process of "digitizing" the manual results, i.e., encoding it for electronic transmission. If we can adequately resolve this trust issue (such as by projecting the encorder's monitor onto a large screen where it can be viewed by all parties), we can easily post precinct level results to a National Consolidating Center here in manila, and at the same time, post it to a secure website accessible to the general public.

At one point, we also considered SMS, but with Namfrel's problems in 2004, I think we're re-examining that whole idea.

So, that's where we're at, in a nutshell. When the Advisory Council finally convenes - hopefully by mid-August - I will pass the word along that you can be a resource person. Personally though, I think it would be better if you could actually get on board as part of the private-sector half of the development team. I hope you consider that.

Thanks for the comments."

I wanted to make sure that you knew that I would be pushing for you to be invited as a resource person for the Advisory Council.

The Bystander said...

You seem more aghast at the alleged "extrajudicial" killings by the CPP-NPA than the more profound, more glaring evidence of extra-judicial killings allegedly committed by paramilitary units.

The CBCP, for all its hype, are obviously conscious not to be identified as opposed to the government such that its pastoral statement was designed to sound "neutral" to say the least.

So far, those being killed are members of militant groups identified as front organizations of the NPA. I have yet to see or hear any person claiming that his/her dead relative was a victim of recent NPA atrocities. And I don't think that the media purposely refused to report such atrocities. Otherwise, I would be led to believe that all of mainstream media journalists have become communists!

Besides, why would I put premium on such a pastoral statement, coming as it is from supposed men of God who just now admitted to having received monetary donations from you know who?

Of course, if families of supposed NPA victims would come out in the open to condemn such crimes, then I would be one with the CBCP in denouncing such atrocities.

Rizalist said...

the bystander--
I guess I am also reacting to the term "extrajudicial killings."

If you think about it, doesn't the term imply that it is the govt authorities who are responsible since the insurgents do not have any judicial power per se. I listened carefully to Angel Lagdameo talking to Ricky Carandang. When he said they had a "long list" of victims I realized the Media has given the impression that these killings really are predominantly done by the Right. Yet what percentage would you say the Bishops think is due to the Left? The CBCP wouldn't make this empahsis without reason. They too must feel that the wrong picture is somehow being painted.

john marzan said...

the leftist militants would have more credibility about their complaints on "extrajudicial killings" if they condemned the violent actions of the commies too.

having said that, i don't like the marcosian and mccarthy-like tactics being used by this administration to silence and intimidate it's critics and other lefties.

The Bystander said...

"Yet what percentage would you say the Bishops think is due to the Left? The CBCP wouldn't make this empahsis without reason. They too must feel that the wrong picture is somehow being painted. --DJB"

I guess you have to make a distinction. If these extrajudicial killings happened in the late 80s and early 90s (and in fact did happen), then I would say a considerable percentage is attributable to the NPA because of the purges. As regards the extrajudicial killings in recent months, it is highly remote that these were perpetrated by the NPAs themselves. My reasons for believing so are:

1. Almost all of those killed were members of militant groups (ex. Bayan Muna) strongly identified with the CPP-NPA. As a matter of fact, the government itself has said that such groups are mere front organizations.

2. Given the above fact, it would be illogical and/or not in accord with common sense that the CPP-NPA would kill their own members. I mean, what purpose would it serve them?

3. The pronouncements of Gen. Palparan since 2002 (he was stilla Col. then) that members of militant groups and NPAs are one and the same plus the recent declaration of Mrs. Arroyo to annihilate "the Left" in two tears time coupled with incoming AFP Chief of Staff Esperon's confirmation that the primary task of the AFP under his stewardship will be to finish off the NPA and its front organzations, raise the strong belief that the government is involved in those killings.

4. It cannot be denied that the government would stand to gain from this scenario owing to the possibility of:
a. instilling fear on the public that they would suffer the same fate if they continue to oppose the government; and
b. diverting the public's attention away from GMA's legitimacy problem.

5. Of the almost 700 cases of extrajudicial killings, practically not one has been solved not to mention the cold shoulder being given by the police to families of victims who want to seek justice legally.

If these paid Bishops really have the goods on NPA atrocities committed in their respective dioceses, they should not merely declare the same without mentioning/presenting any evidence. Tainted as it is, their pastoral statement should not merely be accepted as the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It must first pass the test of logic and common sense which, unfortunately, is wanting.

Rizalist said...

Bystander, Perhaps you are neglecting to take into account the possibility that the CAUSES of the killing fields in the late 80s have not been resolved. Consider the killing of one, Sotero llamas, an EX-NPA commander who actually still opposed the govt but at least returned to peaceful parliamentary struggle. He even ran for governor of Albay but lost. His death certainly fits the pattern of Joma killing off his rivals here. Also, you cannot deny that among the numbers that have all been tallied there are famous murders like Popoy Lagman, Art Tabara, etc of the RJ wing of the communist movement whom the RA ADMITTED to have executed.

So its true, most of those killed were "militants" -- but there are two competing sides who hate each other more than the class enemy.

Karl M. Garcia said...

That is why I thought that abolishing the death penalty was useless,if the killings would be left to vigilantes,the military para-military or to any one who can kill.

It is hard for a so called unarmed progressive group to be be separated from its unarmed comrades;with the ease of filing of rebellion charges of the batasan five as an example.

Karl M. Garcia said...

Blooper: hard for unarmed group to be separated from it armed comrades.

Karl M. Garcia said...

Again, I have to agree with comrades against former comrades.

Ilan na lang ba sa mga nagbalik loob nuong 80s to 90s ang di pa natitira(hit) ng mga dating kasamahan nila?

john marzan said...

communist rebels who do terrorist acts should either be killed or caputured, just like the jihadists and Jemaah Islamiya/Abu sayyaf groups, no question about that.

But should we also have the same policy for the likes of satur ocampo, lisa masa (??), teddy casino and other militant lefty students from UP etc? I'm against their ideas and don't see eye to eye on almost all the issues (i do support many of lisa masa's women's issues tho), but I don't see them as a threat at all. satur, lisa, teddy and their "idealistic" lefty students doesn't scare me one bit.

only an insecure and illegitimate administration would be scared of these people.

And I don't think labelling people as "enemies of the state"-- na pwedeng targetin ng gobyerno-- is not helpful either. And torturing critics and members of the opposition (like the "erap 5") to make them confess to being part of a commie plot to oust the fake president is just wrong.

It is hard for a so called unarmed progressive group to be be separated from its unarmed comrades;with the ease of filing of rebellion charges of the batasan five as an example.

Pero bakit ganun? hindi ba kaalyado at kaibigan ni Arroyo ang mga terroristang kumunista na ito nung pinapabagsak nila si Erap nung 2001? so bakit naging "rebellion" na ang tawag ni Arroyo sa ginagawa ng "batasan 5" ngayon, at "edsa dos" naman nung ginawa nila ito kay erap?

tignan nyo na lang yung charges laban kay beltran, panahon pa ni marcos yung kaso... katawa tawa.

john marzan said...

Blooper: And torturing critics and members of the opposition (like the "erap 5") to make them confess to being part of a commie plot to assasinate Arroyo and other high ranking adminsitration officials.

john marzan said...

24. Impeachment.

We wish to make the CBCP position clear and unambiguous on the present impeachment plans:

24.1. We are undoubtedly for the search for truth. Therefore, in all sincerity we respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth.

24.2. But as Bishops reflecting and acting together as a body in plenary assembly, in the light of previous circumstances, we are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth. For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizen's negative perception of politicians, left, right and center.


Bakit ang daming qualifiers? It's as if the bishops don't want the truth to come out or something...

Ito ang sabi ni Lito Banayo:

And that is what being bishops are about. That is what being men of the Lord is all about. But the majority of our bishops whose business it is to advocate and insist that morality is the North Star of all private and public acts, would now refuse "to favor" the legally-sanctioned way of discovering the truth. It qualifies the process and the mindsets of those who participate in the process, saying that discovering the truth "must be guided by no other motive than the common good".

But is not truth an end to itself? Are our bishops saying that falsehood can ever be "for the common good", and that truth, because it is ugly, can be justifiably hidden by a "concern for the common good"? That is not what catechism lessons or Thomas Aquinas or even the Holy Bible taught us.

Have not our lord bishops, in their collective contemplation, realized that when they qualify the search for truth in terms of whether or not it is productive or "unproductive", or whether or not it "dismays every citizen", or whether or not it "deepens the negative perception of politicians, left, right or center", they stray from their mandate of morality and jump into the realm of pure politics?

Rizalist said...

John,
Also check out Mong Palatino's blog for an explanation by Teodoro Bacani of how it got that way.

http://mongpalatino.motime.com/post/590080/The+CBCP+code