• Reading time:10 mins read

I’m fuming mad at the European Parliament and the Liberal Party

YOU would too, if you read the actual* European Parliament’s April 18 resolution which two mainstream newspapers reported with the headline, “EU urges PH to stop extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.” (See note below on the nature of the European Parliament.)

The resolution was introduced and passed on the same day without debate. My sources claim this was through the efforts of the Liberal Party and its foreign supporters, the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Liberal International’s affiliated parties in the European Parliament.

I was also told that Vice President Leni Robredo and her Liberal Party colleagues during their trip last week to Germany sponsored by the German foundation also met with German members of the European Parliament to urge them to have the April 18 resolution passed.

The EU resolution declared: “Since 1 July 2016, around 12,000 people, including women and children, have, reportedly, been killed in the Philippines during an ongoing campaign against drugs, internationally proclaimed as President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’.” (Emphasis mine.)
How can the EU claim such numbers killed by our police without even explaining where the hell it got that figure?

Women, children killed?

Women and children killed? I can’t find any news that a single woman or child was killed in Duterte’s anti-drug war. Kian de los Santos—whose death I myself believe was a clear case of police execution—was 17 years old.

Contrast the EU resolution to that of the US State Department in its recent human rights report on the country.

The US State Department paper first mentioned that “from July 2016 through October 25, 2017, law enforcement agencies reported that 3,967 ‘drug personalities’ died in connection with anti-drug operations.” (The figure was 4, 075 as of last month.)

Then it noted – very objectively – that “the reported number of alleged extrajudicial killings varied widely, as government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) used different definitions.” Where the US State Department study quoted the number of victims based not on official sources, it pinpointed exactly where such reports were from:

“The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), an independent government agency responsible for investigating alleged human rights violations, investigated 139 complaints of alleged extrajudicial or politically motivated killings involving 174 victims as of August 2017.”

“The rising death toll from the government’s anti-drug campaign compelled the CHR to separate politically motivated killings from drug-related cases in its reporting. From January to June, the CHR investigated 44 cases of drug-related extrajudicial killings involving 56 victims. The CHR suspected PNP or Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency involvement in 112 of these new complaints and AFP or paramilitary personnel in one case. The CHR attributed many of the remaining cases to insurgent/terrorist forces.”

Sharp contrast

In sharp contrast to the EP resolution, the US State Department didn’t repeat lies which it would have done if it claimed that “so-and-so groups alleged that there were 12,000 EJKs.”

The EP resolution simply believed the lies spread by Western media, which, sadly, biased Filipino researchers and journalist have fed them.

Don’t they realize that a systematic state effort to liquidate 12,000 people would by this time generated so much outrage that there would have been massive protests against the government, led and organized by the well-funded opposition and the Left? But there has been practically no such demonstrations, and those that have been undertaken were obviously participated in only by a few communist party activists.

If there were 12,000 EJKs, wouldn’t the CHR—especially since it is headed by a Liberal Party stalwart, Chito Gascon—by now be overwhelmed by complaints? But it has received complaints of alleged EJKs of not more than 200.

For instance, investigations by human rights groups after the Chilean strongman Pinochet fell in 1990 showed that about 3,000 Chileans were killed by security forces during the dictatorship. That number was enough to have the so-called desparacidos’ relatives defy the dictatorship and undertake nearly weekly demonstrations against the regime.

Don’t you think that with an alleged 12,000 EJKs, with our free-willing democracy and a rich opposition, and the Communist Party so skilled in organization and agit-prop, there would have been at this time massive demonstrations over this issue.

There have been no such demonstrations because that 12,000 figure of the European Parliament and the earlier 9,000 figure used by Reuter reporters Manuel Mogato and Clare Baldwin in their Pulitzer Prize-winning article, were fabricated.

It was the internet-only news site Rappler.com which first bloated the number of EJKs, when a September 13, 2016 article by its researcher Michael Bueza claimed that Duterte’s anti-drug campaign resulted in 7,080 killed, including those by the police or vigilantes it backed. The police, however, reported only 2,555 killed in their operations, and there is no way to determine if there were other drug suspects who were killed secretly by the police or its vigilantes.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s “kill list” in 2016 and 2017—its compilation of drug-related deaths based on police blotters—showed a smaller number, 2,107, with 40 percent of this ascribed to “unknown hit men.”

Rappler didn’t correct its wrong figures, and continued to post the erroneous article, even as it didn’t reply at all to my and the police’s debunking of its figures.

It was the Reuters’ award-winning Mogato-Baldwin piece that first reported the 9,000 figure in its April 18, 2017 article, without citing where it got it: “Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30.”

After Reuters gave that false figure, Western media outlets used that figure unquestioningly.

Even such an accomplished journalist as Sheila Coronel, the head of the US-based Columbia University’s Stabile Center of Investigative Journalism, in a piece in an academic journal so melodramatically entitled “A Presidency Bathed in Blood,” wrote: “The drug war, which Duterte officially launched on his first day in office, has claimed the lives of as many as 9,000 suspected drug dealers and users.”

When I asked her where she got that 9,000 number, she replied: “Numerous news reports quote that figure.” She even gave me the link to her Google search results. I asked her why she “didn’t bother to verify if this figure had been conclusively debunked, she no longer replied. So much for investigative and truthful journalism.

How the 9,000 figure became the 12,000 the EP claimed was the number of EJKs is a story so absurd it beggars belief.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch in its 2018 report released last January claimed: “The epidemic of police shootings—often portrayed as ‘shootouts’ but repeatedly shown to be summary executions—had left more than 12,000 people killed in the roughly year and a half since Duterte took office. The vast majority of victims were young men from the slums of major cities—people who elicited little sympathy among many Filipinos.” This organization mostly relies for its information and articles on our country on one Carlos Conde who started his career as a writer at the news website bulatlat.com, allegedly run by Communist Party propaganda cadres.

While the Human Rights Watch report did not explain where it got that figure, an article posted in its website had a link embedded in the “12,000 Filipinos” phrase, a practice in Internet articles to point to the source of that information.

And the source of the Human Rights Watch figure that Human Rights Watch pointed to?

An opinion column 

An opinion column datelined Bangkok by one Lindsay Murdoch in the Sydney Morning Herald (August 24, 2017) entitled “It’s unacceptable children are deemed collateral damage in Duterte’s war on drugs”: “More than 12,000 people in the Philippines were killed in just 14 months, most of them urban slum dwellers.”

He didn’t mention where he got that figure, although his second sentence gives us an idea how: “If bodies continue to pile up at this rate the death toll of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs could top 60,000 in six years.”

He extrapolated from the Reuters figure of 9,000 killed for the 10 months since Duterte started his anti-drug campaign! The arithmetic means a rate of 900 killings per month. So Murdoch calculated: In 14 months, the figure would be 12,600.

The Australian columnist of course wasn’t really interested in facts, as his opinion piece was intended to lambast Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s courtesy call on Duterte in Davao City, which he claims was a “pilgrimage to a mass murderer.”

The European Parliament condemns our country based on a wrong information invented by an angry Australian columnist, from false figures invented by Filipinos. We should be mad as hell.


Note on the European Parliament

Many newspapers refer to the 750-member European Parliament (EP) as the European Union (EU). This is very wrong.

The European Union consists of the 28 European nations that are its members. The EP attempts to mimic the member nations’ parliaments in the case of the Union but in reality doesn’t, a situation referred to by many analysts and scholars as the Union’s “democratic deficit.”

One reason for this is the low turnout of voters in the elections undertaken in each member state on who would represent it in the EP, which results in the awkward situation where many of the EP members do not represent the mainstream parties or parties in power, and in several cases, even the radical ones.

A second reason is that the EP doesn’t really legislate laws for the EU. It is the European Commission (EC) and the European Council. The EC runs the Union’s bureaucracy and consists of 28 members designated by each Union member state. The Council consists of the heads of states of the Union.

A huge problem of the EP is that representation has been based on each Union member’s population size. So, Germany has the biggest number of members with 99, followed by Italy and France with 72 each. This is reportedly one of the reasons why the United Kingdom opted to get out of the Union, as continental nations led by Germany control the EP.

This would explain how the Liberal Party solely with its contacts in the EP through the Friedrich Naumann Foundation easily got the EP to pass the anti-Duterte resolution. For many EP members routinely and uncritically approve resolutions that the Germans propose.


Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao