Wednesday, September 13, 2006

International Pressure

To appease the growing foreign condemnation of the spate of extra-judicial, GMA created the Melo Commission. Its main responsibility is to investigate the increasing number of politically motivated(?) murders and disappearnces. Amnesty International and other international organizations have lambasted GMA for the continued human rights violations in the Philippines.

GMA had also continuesly rejected to sign the Rome Statute allowing the country to be under the International Criminal Court. Had she signed this, the ICC can prosecute any individual with crimes against humanity. Together with the United States, GMA continues to sign the resolution. Bush and GMA are probably afraid that someone would file charges against them for crimes against humanity. With both clearly overstepping the bounds of what is legal and humane with the actions taken against their "perceived" enemies, the ICC will definitely put them in their proper place.

Currently, we have three bodies investigating these killings and forced disappearances. The Human Rights Commission, Tasf Force USIG and the recently created Melo Commission. Of the three, TF USIG and CHR are both funded by the government while the Melo Commission as reported needs to "beg" for funding from the very organizations it has to investigate. CHR and TF USIG can also compel those they are investigating to appear before them. The Melo Commssion however does not have this mandate.

Though the CHR may investigate, their powers are only recommendatory and not prosecutorial. The MC on the otherhand cannot compel anyone to appear before them. How on earth can these panels work effectively if their hands are tied. In the case of the CHR, it was constitutionally created and would need congress to give it the teeth it needs. The MC however was created by GMA and she can if she wills it, give the commission the necessary tools to be credible. TF USIG as we all know have concluded that these killings are non-political and suggests that its the CPP-NPA who's responsible.

But it seems she never wanted the commission to succeed. GMA herself has declared that "her" military is clean. The commission was conveniently created to show the international community that she is addressing these killings and abductions in earnest and to deodorize her administration. She may have succeeded initially, but the international community is wary of her sincerity and that they will be sending their own teams to get the truth for themselves. Try as she might, her credibility abroad is not good and worse, whatever she does will always be suspect both here and abroad.

We have also sponsored a UN resolution condemning Israel's actions against Lebanon. Unfortunately, when the time to vote came, the Philippines abstained. Now we have incurred the ire of the Organization of Islamic Countries. We are trying to get an observer status in the OIC for years and this latest fiasco had put us in a bad light. The OIC for years have been trying to get the Islamic secessionists and the GRP to peacefully end the hostilities in Mindanao. This has forced GMA to skip the UN General Assembly for fear of being questioned by other leaders on her turnabout regarding this resolution.

Arroyo's insincerity has flown from our shores to distant lands. The EU is looking at the possibility of using the Rome Statute as a prerequisite for European investments. The United Nations Human Rights Council also intends to send a team to investigate the spate extra-judicial killings. Malacanang revealed that its GMA who invited them to see for themselves. Really? For sure they are cooking up another ploy to hoodwink these observers. Just like what they did during the 2004 elections where they herded foreign observers to "friendly" areas while they did their dastardly acts elsewhere.

Finally, the international community is taking notice of our people's plight. The killings continue unabated and rights are suppressed. Other forms of harassment are employed to silence the opposition. Lowly members of the administration's critics are killed while the more notable are slapped with trumped up charges. I hope the international teams arrive soon before every member of the opposition is silenced and evidence is swept under the rug.