In a statement, Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. said the continuing killings “make a mockery of the creation of the Melo Commission which was tasked to investigate the slayings of political activists and journalists, identify their perpetrators and recommend their prosecution.”
Olayvar was killed by motorcycle-riding hitmen in Danao City, Province of Cebu.
The week also saw the killings of militant leaders in Valencia City in Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte and Surigao
“The incidents demand a more direct involvement of the President to stop these extra-judicial killings. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is in the saddle of responsibility. The buck stops at her door to end the killings,” Pimentel said.
“She should order her law enforcement agencies to run after the killers, disarm them and bring them before the bar of justice,” he added.
The senator challenged the President to disprove allegations that the six-member fact-finding Commission, chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo, is meant to cover up the alleged involvement of the military and police in political and media killings.
Arroyo formed the Melo Commission after the government received a flurry of domestic and international criticisms over the unsolved killings which human rights groups attributed to security forces.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines assailed the appointment of Major General Jovito Palparan as deputy national security adviser as “a clear proof that the extrajudicial killings and abduction of legal activists are state policy under the Arroyo regime. Thus, these are committed with impunity.”
In a statement, Fidel V. Agcaoili, who identified himself as chair of the NDFP Human Rights Committee, said that Palparan’s rapid promotions in military rank the special praise for him in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 2006 State of the Nation Address“proved that he was carrying out state policy.”
”Arroyo has held him in high regard despite the protests of surviving victims and families, churches and legal political parties and mass organizations of the victims of extrajudicial killings and abductions in the areas to which Palparan had been assigned like Mindoro, Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon,” Agcaoili said.
He said Arroyo has ignored international outrage over the killings as expressed by several governments, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, the World Council of Churches and other religious institutions, and professional organizations of lawyers, journalists and other people.
”The new appointment of Palparan signifies that extrajudicial killings and abductions carried out with impunity will further escalate throughout the country, and that the Melo Commission is conclusively Arroyo’s device for whitewashing the crimes of butchers like Palparan and for deceiving the people,” he concluded. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)