Thursday, September 20, 2012

Government Peace Panel Chair Padilla Decries NPA Indemnification as Stopgap and Diversionary

From the Website of OPPAP

Government Peace Panel Chair Padilla Decries NPA Indemnification as Stopgap and Diversionary

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Posted on Friday, 21 September, 2012 - 10:18

In a press statement of today, Alexander Padilla, Chair of the Government Panel in Peace Negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF), decried the P5,000 payments to victims of the recent NPA grenade attack in Paquibato, Davao City as “stopgap and clouding the issue of violation of international humanitarian law and Philippine law”.  Targeting a military site, the September 1  NPA attack instead caused injury to 48 civilians.

Padilla said that the CPP-NPA’s refusal to turn over the perpetrators of the attack to the authorities and be subject to due process “adds insult to injury”. The NPA’s Merardo Arce Command belatedly owned up to the attack; and NPA spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez said those responsible will be dealt with according to the CPP-NPA’s “revolutionary justice”.  But this “revolutionary justice”, Padilla noted, has been exposed as a “sham” by many including United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston in a Report in 2008, without regard to the rule of law including basic rights (e.g. the right to counsel, to evidence).
Padilla pointed out that there have been countless civilian victims of collateral damage in over four decades of the Communist insurgency—“why has indemnification been raised only now?” For so long as “the CPP-NPA pursues armed struggle as the primary means to achieve its goals”, Padilla added, there will continue to be civilians caught in the crossfire. Will they “join the ranks of tens of thousands of unnamed and uncompensated civilian victims?” he asked.  Such issues as the use of landmines and child soldiers have been raised by the Government Peace Panel in on-and-off talks with its CPP-NPA-NDF counterparts.

“The demands of justice are predicated on a rule of law and cannot be met by one-off payments”, Padilla said. “The demands of peace must be negotiated peacefully at the table and not through gunfire and the torching of establishments”, he added. Padilla underscored President Aquino’s unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by government earlier today to mark the United Nations celebration of September 21 as International Day of Peace.

OPPAP Website