According to human-rights groups, more than a thousand Filipinos have been killed in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since 2001, the year President Arroyo came to power. They also said that more than a thousand have been tortured. More than 200, these groups said, have disappeared like Rodinas.
Victims in these atrocities are usually kidnapped or arrested. Many of them later turned up dead or tortured.
Human-rights and activists groups, as well as such agencies as the United Nations Human Rights Council, have established that these killings, abductions and torture are part of the government’s counter-insurgency policy called Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch) that target activists who are not underground.
This policy, they said, does not distinguish unarmed activists or leftists from the armed and underground New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The government has denied that such a policy exists and even dismisses specific cases of violations as a mere fabrication by the left and the communists to discredit the government. In many instances, the military would even deny that they have missing persons in their custody – only to be contradicted later by witnesses and by victims themselves.
Military officials, however, admit that they consider leftist groups who are operating aboveground no differently from the communists and see them as threats to national security. This might explain, human-rights groups said, the widespread and continuing violations being committed against members and officials of these progressive groups. (Bulatlat.com)