DEATH SQUADS AND DEMOCRACY.
Most people in northern democracies presume that there is a democratically elected government in the Philippines and that human rights will be generality respected and upheld. It also presumes that the rule of law prevails most of the time and that the democratically elected government will respect the provision of treaties,conventions and protocols it has signed. In the Philippines that is not so.
Corruption is widespread and election fraud,cheating, vote buying and intimidation is common. So democracy is far from real. The same powerful wealthy family dynasties continue to dominate the so called election process and its not so much rule by the people,for the people but the rule of the elite for their own interests. In the Philippines traditionally an oligarchy of a few very powerful families rules the country and cotrol the economy. They place their family members into government positions to advance their own economic interests.
They thus control the congress and other branches of government. Many are incompetent to govern and they form a military and police force that is built around their own relatives friends and beneficiaries. Therefore the forces are loyal to the patriarch or family head not to the people. They are selected not on the basis of their professional merit and competence but on their loyalty to the head of the dynasty. Promotion in the ranks military or police depends on the power of their patron.
Thus history of street protest shows police and military shooting dozens of protesters that challenge the ruling elite. The military will stand against the farmers and protect the interests of the powerful land owner. Human rights are cast aside in favor of protecting the politicians and the ruling families.
The ³Democratic² Philippines is a myth and the enduring death squad and cover up is proof of that. The death squads existing in many cities is to create a culture of fear and control and suppress the people¹s protest of injustice and unendurable poverty.
Davao City and the surrounding Provence is rife with inequality and land exploitation ,injustice and widespread poverty and a few vastly wealthy families control the land and the banana industry. The military and police protect their interests against impoverished peasants or militant social and human rights activists demanding land reform ,just wages and health care.
Davao is the most prominent example of murdering death squads that kill even street children. Although it is a similar situation all other Philippine provinces. It arose they say in the 1970 and ³80 an ground swell of protest by organized impoverished farmers and their supporters frightened the ruling families and they set up the assassination squad to eliminate them. The insurgent counter with there own assassination squads.
There was much killing and violence. The government backed assassination squads triumphed and an permanent well paid ³assassination squad ³ was established.
Men dressed in black clothes, equipped with with radios, guns and knives and riding motor cycles calmly ride up to suspects and shoot them dead. Until the present the squad operates with impunity. National and International Human rights organizations have continually called for an investigation and for the killers to be brought to justice. When Human Rights Commission chair Leila De Lima did so this year she was met with uncooperative justices, officials and citizens. The politicians and police commanders say that rival gangs are killing each other.
Politicians deny its existence but the discovery of many corpuses makes that untenable. The authorities are desperate to prevent the truth from being revealed. The challenge and International pressure on the government to end the killings and disband the assassination squad is growing. If they do ,the suffering poverty and injustice may against surface to challenge the ³democratically² elected elite. Some strange democracy this is.