02/20/2007, 00.00
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Bishops tell government to publish Melo report on extra-judicial killings

by Santosh Digal
The prelates call on the authorities to give the population the findings of the commission of inquiry into political assassinations that left more than 830 journalists, activists and politicians dead since 2001.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Only the release of the Melo report on extra-judicial killings can “stop unrest on the issue” and put an end to the trail of blood and violence that has affected the Philippines in recent years. For this reason it must be made public even if it contains unpalatable information, this in a plea made to the government by two Filipino bishops, Mgr Oscar Cruz and Mgr Antonio Ledesma.

The two prelates demand the release of the report by the government commission chaired by Judge Melo that investigated several unsolved extra-judicial killings. For Mgr Cruz, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, “there must be findings in the Melo report that are against the administration. Hence, it resolved to keep it secret.” For Mgr Ledesma, vice president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, “the people, particularly the families of the victims, are entitled to know the results of the investigations.”

Last year, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed retired Supreme Court justice Jose Melo to head a special commission to investigate the killings of politicians, journalists and human rights activists.

Human rights monitors say more than 830 people have been murdered since Arroyo came to power in 2001.

The latest occurred yesterday when Hernani Pastolero was killed by two gunmen as sipped coffee in front of his house, in Mindanao.

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