“In fact, many of the alleged victims were killed in legitimate military encounters, 23 of them were members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, listed as a terrorist organization,” Ermita said.
“The claim that all of the killings were perpetrated by the military and police is preposterous, as records would show that members of the CPP/NPA are suspects in 29 cases,” Ermita said, referring to the Communist Part of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
Manalo said he was angry at Ermita for his report and response to the committee. Ermita’s answers were broad and evasive, he said.
For instance, Manalo said, when Ermita was asked about Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, the two students from the University of the Philippines believed abducted by the military, the executive secretary just replied: “Ginagawa namin ang lahat para mahanap sila.” (“We are doing everything to find them.”)
Ermita even boasted that in the Philippines, “activists of all political ideological persuasions are vocal and free to air their views through peaceful and democratic expression.”
According to statistics from Karapatan, 1,016 Filipinos have been victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances as of March 2009. (Bulatlat.com)