Press Release
June 28, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stop crowing about her role in the repeal of the death penalty to woo the support of the Catholic Church if she could not stop the extra-judicial killings of leftist activists, journalists and other persons that are believed to be intended to quell political dissent against her administration.

Pimentel said the ghastly trail of slayings, many of which were blamed on alleged death squads of the military as part of the counter-insurgency war, smacks of the hypocrisy of the Presidents supposedly pro-life policy which she boasted about when she met Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican City.

The Pope may have lauded Gloria for the passage of the law abolishing the death penalty but the continuing extra-judicial killings of activists, journalists and plain citizens under her government should be a cause for citizen outrage, he said.

The minority leader said the spate of extra-judicial killings, and the governments lack of determination to prosecute and punish the perpetrators, clearly illustrate the Presidents half-hearted commitment to protect human rights.

The security of the lives of people is a prime duty of the government and as head of state and the government, President Arroyo cannot evade responsibility for the murderous climate obtaining in the country today. She cannot say she is not somehow complacent in the face of the sordid salvaging episodes going on in the country. As far as the people can see, the buck stops at her office, Pimentel said.

Pimentel said it is the duty of the government to stop the extra-judicial killings and to render justice to the hapless victims even as he stressed that the President should be held accountable for the failure to curb these killings.

The proponents of the new impeach try should probably incorporate the fact that more than 600 salvagings done since she assumed the presidency in 2001 as one of the specifications in the charges against her, he said.

Commenting on the Presidents remark to use the power of prayer in defending herself from the impeachment charges, Pimentel said: Prayer is a potent power against evil.

But I am not too sure that the impeachment try against her is an evil act. I suggest that Gloria should pray for guidance that her administration should not prolong the agony of the people in terms of corruption, abuse of human rights and the misuse of public funds, he said.

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