Palace rejects ‘unverifiable information’ on killings

Name officer, military leadership told By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Last updated 03:09pm (Mla time) 06/25/2007

(UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines — Without the identities of those who claim that the killings carried out against the militants are part of the military’s course of action against them, “unverifiable information” like this should not be taken seriously, Malacañang said Monday.


At the same time, the government does not adhere to the policy of extrajudicial killings and has resorted to legal remedies against its enemies, Secretary Norberto Gonzales said in a phone interview.


“Our policy is through the legal effort so we file cases against those whom we suspect are doing something against the law,” Gonzales said, reacting to an unidentified general’s confirmation of militant killings.


He said it was important for the military leadership to identify the general, “otherwise, all that he said would be allegations.”


Gonzales said the government was serious in solving the killings, adding that each incident has been damaging the country not only domestically but internationally.


Echoing Gonzales’ view, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the Palace would not comment on “unverifiable information.”


“We do not wish to comment on speculation as well as on anonymous and therefore unverifiable information,” Bunye told reporters in an interview.


“But let me reiterate that we support all measures that will finally bring to an end these extrajudicial killings,” said Bunye.


Bunye said one such measure would be the Supreme Court’s broad-based summit next month to discuss reforms the courts could undertake to curb political killings in the country.


He said all agencies of government would be enjoined to cooperate with the high tribunal to accelerate the resolution of the cases of killings.


The Armed Forces general, the third who had spoken about the killings, had said that these matters had been discussed “openly” in a top-level military conference about two years ago.


The officer said he was present when two other generals discussed the military’s course of action in the wake of the communist threat in key areas in Luzon.


The Bagong Alyanang Makabayan (Bayan) called on Monday for a congressional inquiry in the wake of the general’s revelations.


In a statement, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr. said the statements of the anonymous general could be confirmed by looking at the number of activist deaths in areas of jurisdiction by the Northern Luzon and Southern Luzon commands.


“If it is true that a command conference of Luzon commanders took place, then the number of deaths will show that the conference indeed adopted the policy of extrajudicial killings. Regions like Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and even the Cordilleras have the highest number of deaths in the entire country,” Reyes said.

Originally posted at 1:45pm


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