The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan rejects the pronouncements of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo cannot be held liable for the killings under the principle of command responsibility.
Ermita only looks ridiculous and incredulous when he says that command responsibility can only apply to officials two ranks higher than the perpetrator. This interpretation is an invention of Ermita and runs contrary to accepted principles of international law wherein even heads of state can be tried for crimes involving human rights abuses.
Arroyo cannot wiggle herself out of her clear liability in the killings especially since the deaths and abductions have not stopped despite the so-called "measures" being taken by her regime.
The phenomenon of political killings has taken on a national character. It is the result of a national policy that emanates from the commander-in-chief and the AFP top brass. The responsibility for the killings cannot be pinned merely on low ranking officials, as what the apologist Ermits is saying.
The national policy on political killings includes Arroyo's "all-out war declaration" against the Left, the internal security plan Oplan Bantay Laya 1 & 2, as well as other Malacanang and AFP issuances and directives such as Operation Bluetooth and Knowing the Enemy.
None of these national directives have been rescinded by the Arroyo administration. The regime has been more preoccupied with damage control moves and PR repair rather than on prosecuting the perpetrators of the killings.
Arroyo must now issue a clear and categorical directive to her cabinet, the leadership of the AFP, and all military and police units prohibiting the commission of extrajudicial killings. Arroyo must also issue a clear and categorical order dismantling any regular or special units or "death squads" engaged in extrajudicial killings.
Arroyo must revamp her entire security cluster starting with the firing of security adviser Norberto Gonzales and the relief AFP chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon. Both have shown complicity in the campaign of repression against the Left. Their pronouncements and actions continue to incite violence against legal activists.