Alston report should merit expulsion of Palparan from House, says leftist groups

Alston report should merit expulsion of Palparan from House, says leftist groups

Farmers and fisherfolk activists camping by the gate of the House of Representatives for 27 days on Saturday said the follow up report of United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on extrajudicial killings in the country merits the expulsion of Bantay Party list Rep. Jovito Palparan from the Congress.

In their joint statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the agricultural labor group Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the women peasant federation Amihan said House Speaker Prospero Nograles should lead a move that will remove Palparan from the House of Representatives based on the follow up report of the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing.

According to Alston follow up report, the Macapagal-Arroyo government had failed to apply the principle of command responsibility in the purported human rights violations by agents of the state, and one of the major proofs was the supposed appointment of Palparan to the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) and his entry to Congress as party list lawmaker.

“The Alston report merely suggests that the House of Representatives under the Nograles leadership is coddling an extrajudicial killer in the person of Palparan. It also implicitly states that the Lower House under the tutelage of the Speaker is allowing The Butcher to use the House as a staging ground for more assaults against human rights and against vocal critics of the Macapagal-Arroyo government and the pro-Arroyo military establishment,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

“Speaker Nograles has no option but kick Palparan out of the House of Representatives. If he fails to do so, then the international community led by the UN will soon name him as protector of a political criminal and animal like Palparan,” Hicap added.

“It is like the Speaker of the House paying homage and fitting tribute to Palparan’s and Palace campaign on state terror and political killing. Rushing to the defense of Palparan is like endorsing the criminal activities of the regime, its military and Palparan. The Speaker is so disgusting,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

But the Hicap said the move to expel Palparan from Congress has a fighting chance because last February, 40 congressmen crossed party lines and signed a resolution opposing the appointment of Palparan to any government post.

Hicap was referring to House Resolution 999 in Congress that was filed at the time that the controversial retired military official will be assigned to either the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) or the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The resolution states that “Palparan’s possible appointment is another knee-jerk reaction to government’s failure to effectively address the drug problem.”

“We have a fighting chance. We will write and talk to friendly congressmen to join our cause against Palparan and support another resolution calling for the expulsion of a political criminal and terrorist at large. It is long a way to go, but painstaking work and our justice driven campaign will convince other lawmakers to junk Palparan and send him behind bars instead,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

The resolution was initiated by Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, was signed by 40 others from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Nacionalista Party, Lakas-CMD Balane, Liberal Party, CIBAC, An Waray, Anak Mindanao, Kampi, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Partido Demokratiko-Sosyalista ng Pilipinas, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.

Last month, militant party lists filed a disqualification case against Palparan before the House Electoral Tribunal.

Pamalakaya said there were 991 victims of extrajudicial killings from January 2001 to December 2008 almost two thirds of the victims of extrajudicial killings were rural people that include farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous people, peasant women and agricultural workers and agrarian reform advocates.

The group said during Palparan’s stint in Central Luzon, a total of 139 activists were killed , while 66 were missing, in Southern Tagalog, also during Palparan’s stint, a total of 165 activists during the same period were summarily executed.

Pamalakaya said the most noted victims of Palparan’s campaign in Southern Tagalog were human rights activist Eden Marcellana of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy of Kasama-TK. Both leaders were killed on April 2003 in Mindoro Oriental while leading a fact-finding mission on alleged atrocities committed by the military under the command of Palparan. #

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