Archived article emailed to me.....read between lines and comment....

Sanchez: Calling a spade
By Benedicto Q Sanchez
Nature Naturespeaks

WHAT'S in a name, asks Shakespeare in his romantic play 'Romeo and Juliet?' You might call a spade a trowel, a pitchfork, a crane. The thing will remain a spade.

What are atrocities? You might call them kindheartedness, charity, justice, but such actions will remain "shockingly cruel and inhumane." A fool might "murder" a pinch, an "angga" but none will be fooled that the action is the unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by a human being.

That is exactly what NDF spokesperson Ka Frank Fernández wants us to believe, however. He criticized Bishop Vicente Navarra whom a local daily quoted as saying that the "New People's Army committed atrocities and its revolutionary cause is no different from the reactionary government."

And why can't the so-called revolutionary forces commit atrocities? Because, according to Fernández's statement, they are "guided by the general principles and upholds the democratic rights of the people based on the Constitution of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Guide in Establishing the People's Democratic Government, and Rules and Regulations of the New People's Army; steadfastly adhere to the Comprehensive Agreements on Respect on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

Excuse me? The killing of an innocent civilian and even an alleged NPA supporter Vicente Ferrazzini in Davao wasn't an atrocity? Or the assassination of Manapla overseer Hermes Ostan, that wasn't plain and simple murder?

Were their deaths guided by the general principles and based on the democratic rights of the people? I read Fernández's entire statement and nowhere did it clear anything why their deaths shouldn't be classified as atrocities?

At least, in Ferrazzini's case, the NPA bothered to apologize (or self-criticize, in Maoist jargon), as if an apology exculpates it from wrongdoing. Well, basically that is also what the NPA wants us to believe. The killing was a mere "mistake," not a crime.

In Ostan's case, there wasn't even a claimer or flat denial. Is it a case of learning from past mistakes, which is less talk, less mistake? Or no talk, no mistake?

Is that what's called the "democratic rights" of the people? Somehow, the language fails me. They accuse the government of human rights violations. But following Fernández's logic, can the government also invoke its Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the rights of citizens to due process? Or the existence of courts of law where the judge sits before a prosecutor and defense counsel in people of the Philippines versus an accused?

Can the CPP-NPA invoke the same thing, for that matter? How exactly does their due process works?

Were their hapless victims given the chance to confront their accusers? Given legal counsel? Read their rights? Convicted beyond reasonable doubt based on testimony and material evidence?

Fernández makes a big deal of Guihulngan peasants Emilia Quirante and Loudes Baloy, who he claims, led in facing and initiating dialogs with landlords and the military on agrarian issues and demands, the ones accused as criminals, arrested and imprisoned?

I'm not privy to the case details to make an intelligent comment. But Fernández implied that a case has already been filed in court since the two have been accused, arrested, and imprisoned (or detained). They can even post bail. Human rights activists should remain vigilant that the two won't get salvaged.

Otherwise, they'll have their day in court, face their accusers, and be provided with legal counsels. Which is much more than what the CPP-NPA gave Ferrazzini and Ostan, and most of their murder victims, for that matter.

So, tell me, who are committing atrocities? Can we simply call a spade, a spade? A murder, a murder?

Please email comments to bqsanc@yahoo.com

For more Philippine news, visit Sun.Star Davao.

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