MANILA, Philippines — Leftist groups have welcomed Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynaldo Puno’s call for a summit on extrajudicial killings, saying they would support the activity.
“It is very good that the Supreme Court is taking the bull by the horn and facing the problem head on, unlike Malacañang who keeps skirting the issue and blaming the victims,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines) secretary general Danilo Ramos said in a statement.
He called the summit “unprecedented” and said they would “support it as long as we get the assurance that everything will be done to stop the killings and abductions done by state forces against the people.”
However, Ramos noted that the summit would be held just as the anti-terror law, officially known as the Human Security Act, will be coming into force next month.
Comparing the law to a “ticking time bomb,” Ramos urged the Supreme Court and civil libertarians to “work hard and fast to defuse it.”
“If not,” he added, “then a lot of lives and liberties would be extinguished.”
In a separate statement, Fernando Hicap, president of the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), said they would join the summit if invited.
“We see the Supreme Court’s multisectoral congress on extrajudicial killings as an opportunity, and at the same time a promising venue to ventilate our cause for truth, justice and accountability,” Hicap said.
“Thank you Chief Justice for engaging the high tribunal in this fight against extrajudicial killings,” Hicap said. “We hope to see a more vigilant and more active [Supreme Court] in the coming days.”
He also said the plan of senator-elect Antonio Trillanes IV “to investigate the role of AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] death squads in the spate of political killings of leftwing activists in the country should serve as a parallel effort [to the summit] to address the issue of extrajudicial killings.”
“We ask the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to publicly endorse and support the initiative of Senator Trillanes to investigate the role of military death squads in the unabated killings of leftwing activists and journalists,” Hicap said.