The New People's Army should do more than pay P5,000 to people injured in a grenade attack in Davao City early this month, the chairman of a government peace panel said Friday.
Alexander Padilla, chairman of the peace panel negotiating with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF),
called the reported payment to around 50 victims a "stop-gap solution." He added the P5,000 indemnification "(clouds) the issue of violation of international humanitarian law and Philippine law."
Instead, the NPA should turn over the perpetrators to the government.
According to reports the distribution of payments was done by Exodus for Justice and Peace, which CPP-NPA-NDF tapped as third-party facilitator for the indemnification of the victims. EJP has representatives from religious groups, the academe, media, and civil society organizations.
NPA's Merardo Arce command has taken responsibility and has apologized for the grenade attack. It said that its attack was meant for an Armed Forces of the Philippines detachment in Paquibato, Davao City but that it had "erred in considering the circumstances, combat intelligence and all pertinent operational information in instigating the NPA action.”
"The NPA will take concrete measures to indemnify the victims consistent with the principles of revolutionary justice and the policies governing the New People’s Army and the revolutionary movement," it said in a statement on September 7.
But Padilla said "the demands of justice are predicated on a rule of law and cannot be met by one-off payments." He added the CPP-NPA-NDF's refusal to turn over the perpetrators to authorities "adds insult to injury." He said that the perpetrators would instead be subjected to revolutionary justice which "has been exposed as a sham by many, including United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston in a report in 2008." He said the CPP-NPA-NDF's style of justice has no "regard to the rule of law including basic rights."
The grenade attack, which happened at a carnival in Paquibato, left 48 injured.
According to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, formal peace negotiations between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF have been stalled since 2004. There have been informal exploratory talks since then.
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