Espina said Mariveles’s name was included in the list of so-called CPP-NPA (New People’s Army) personalities in the Visayas from the Central Command. In the document, Espina said, Mariveles was associated with Bayan. “He was an activist but he has been active in broadcast for three years.”
When they confronted the military, Espina and his colleagues were told: “You are lucky you talked to officials like us. Never, never argue with our men because they are just trained to kill.”
Espina said he himself saw his name in an OB. “If you know your name is in the list, it has a psychological effect on you, you also feel fear,” he said. “If the military does not kill you, others who are angry at communists may do it. It is really dangerous.”
“Is it true that there is no official policy to kill journalists? They why there seems to be a pattern in which media members are often considered enemies of the state,” Espina asked.
“The existence of such an abomination as this OB only bolsters the thesis of United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston that the plague of extrajudicial killings that has cost the lives of close to a
thousand activists and dissenters since 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power, can be blamed on a government counterinsurgency strategy that targets personalities from legal
leftist organizations openly tagged as rebel legal fronts,” said Espina.
International media watchdog Reporters Without Borders also expressed alarm over the incident, “Many political activists on such army lists have been murdered by military or paramilitary units in recent years. We urge the government not to ignore these abuses and to put a stop to the practice of blacklisting independent journalists, rights groups and activists.”
The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility likewise condemned the AFP’s OB. “Given its traditions of secrecy, the AFP has denied authorship of the document, and would naturally refuse to answer questions on whether a 2009 version of it exists. But such denials, as the escalation of extra judicial killings (EJKs) in the last four years has shown, are as sinister as they’re meaningless, since, in a number of cases, the denials have not prevented EJKs. Under these circumstances journalists’ and media groups have no other recourse but to assume the worst– i.e., that Mr. Conde’s life is in danger.”
The CMFR added: “The harassments, threats and other assaults on critical and independent journalists and media organizations already constitute a pattern of government intimidation that has eroded free expression and press freedom in the Philippines.”
The NUJP called on the AFP and the Department of Defense, specifically Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., to rectify this “mistake” by sacking everyone involved in producing the document. It likewise urged the 10th ID to issue a public apology to Conde, the NUJP and to all the other individuals it may have wronged and placed in danger because of their inclusion in the OB.
Sonny Fernandez, NUJP secretary-general, challenged the Commission on Human Rights, the congressional committees on Justice and Human Rights to look into the military’s OB.
Espina said the Congress should exercise its oversight powers and look into how the intelligence funds are used or abused.
“The military, for obvious reasons, should have money to spend for intelligence purposes because it is dealing with its enemies. But again, if this money is being spent to spy on civilians, people who are not in the hills, people who are not advocating for armed revolution, the Senate should look into this,” Espina added.(Bulatlat.com)
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