Claims of state-sponsored killings? Palace says baseless, malicious
MANILA, Philippines — “Baseless and laced with malice” was how Malacañang described Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares’ claims that the spate of killings in Negros Oriental and in other parts of the Philippines were state-sponsored.
In a statement Thursday, Colmenares said that based on evidence the killings in the country were state sanctioned.
“Two matters of evidence would point out that the recent cases in the country can be considered as state-sponsored killings — ‘direct evidence’ from the statement of witnesses pointing to the police as the gunmen and the ‘indirect evidence’ which is the pattern of killings which publicly vilify the target,” Colmenares said.
The former Bayan Muna Representative said “the brazenness with which the crime was committed as if the perpetrator was not afraid at all of being accosted by the police” explains why it was state-sponsored.
“The way it was done in public places with so many witnesses, the killer is not afraid to be caught,” he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Colmenares’ remarks were part of the propaganda of the communist rebels.
“The remarks of former senatorial candidate, Mr. Colmenares, along with his blaming the police for the spate of deaths [are], however, baseless and laced with malice,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Such utterances of Mr. Colmenares are but a part of the propaganda of the Communist Party of the Philippines [CPP], to which obviously he subscribes and parrots, to discredit the administration and the security forces of the government, while trying to give himself the appearance of relevance after being repeatedly repudiated by the electorate in the national elections,” he added.
Colmenares, he said, “has purposely turned deaf to the voice of the people.”
“We agree that justice must be delivered to the victims, as well as to the families of those who were killed in Negros Oriental. This government condemns all forms of arbitrary killings,” Panelo said,
The Palace official cited that “it is common knowledge that the armed component of the CCP, the New People’s Army [NPA], has committed various crimes to the people and to the nation, including the murder of many innocent government agents and civilians in ambushes, skirmishes, extortion, and burning and destruction of properties.”
“Mr. Colmenaras has never condemned any of the atrocious and illegal acts of this rebellious group, a fact that demonstrates not only his use of double standards when it comes to his principles but it also shows where his loyalty belongs,” he said.
Echoing President Rodrigo Duterte’s call, his spokesman said the rebels should admit that their cause is a “failed rebellion” and surrender to the government.
“It is time for the Left and its supporters and leaders to stop throwing everything to the government and admit that theirs is a failed rebellion,” he said.
“It is time for them to join the rest of their surrenderers who have been coming out in droves as they respond to the call of the President to return to the democratic society and embrace constitutional order,” he added. /jpv