Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An Executive Session with the Commission on Human Rights

Yesterday afternoon, the delegation from the Coalition Against Summary Execution (CASE) had an executive session with the Commission on Human Rights. We really did not plan to attend the public inquiry or much less meet with the commission. We doubted whether this public hearing would accomplish anything. We just came on Monday afternoon to deliver the data and reports we had gathered which would prove the existence of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) responsible for the summary killings in the city. We did not want to participate in the public hearing with all the local authorities and the media present. But the commission asked us if we would be willing to have a close session with them and so we consented. We were convinced that the commission headed by Leila de Lima was indeed serious in addressing this problem. We will cooperate with them in the ongoing investigation.
We don't have any illusion that the public inquiry will stop the killings. In fact, while the hearing was going on the DDS killed 2 more people, bringing the body count to 892 victims. It was appalling to hear the local authorities and the police continuing to deny that these were cases of summary killings perpetrated by the DDS. How can the killings be stopped when those who are supposed to investigate and go after the killers continue to deny their existence?
I believe that the mayor and the police can stop these killings if they want to. The first thing that they need to do is to acknowledge that summary killings are indeed happening, to condemn these, and to go after the killers. Otherwise, the people will continue to suspect that they are behind these.

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