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DEATH SQUADS AND DEMOCRACY.

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Why  would  judges  hamper  an investigation into  a human rights investigation  into a killing field where many human remains are found in Davao ,victims allegedly of the  infamous death squad. Why would the members of the  Commission on Human Rights be charged themselves? Human Rights Watch says local authorities are obstructing the  course  of  justice and investigation into almost a thousand assassinations in the past decade. How can this be in a Asian 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.
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