We often hear reports of this kind from the Philippines, and recently more so. Of course this could all be true, and we should wait for the inquiry ... and ... except that...this time I happen to know one name in the list: Felix Salditos.
His wife Ruth Fe Salditos, human right activist and president of PFTC - Panay Fair Trade Center, has even been our personal guest at home since our kids were toddlers. Hundred if not thousands of people from the fair trade cooperative Mandacaru and CTM-Altromercato met and listened to Ruth here in Trento and elsewhere in Italy. Just last year she was here speaker invited by the Province of Trento. You can find the Mascobado sugar produced by PFTC and its ten thousands workers in almost every supermarket here.
I feel sorry that the international support Ruth got few years ago when she was accused of ambushing a whole army battalion by herself (yes, it is not a joke), will not be able to help his husband. If one's president justifies extra-judicial execution, why bother with trumped up charges, if one can resort to trumped up assassination?
I am sure several human right activists, journalists, members of trade unions, or even simple citizens standing for their rights in Italy, Europe or elsewhere in the world would be considered equally if not more dangerous and equally executed by those very shameless Philippine Army officers.
I am also sure that those very shameless Philippine Police officers who staged this massacre, two thousands years ago would have stood in court saying that Jesus Christ died of old age. You might as well believe Chief Supt. John Bulalacao that a 30 minutes, thirty long minutes, sustained fire took place with 100 persons on one side and 7 on the other and nobody of the 100 got even scratched (which ought to be believable as the weapons of the 7 materialized for the public only on the next morning with some mysterious delay...).
This massacre shows that citizen rights in front of the powerful are a recent and frail conquest in the history of mankind. Our rights that can be easily taken away with the excuse of security, unless we stand by them. In the Philippines, the war on drugs and terrorism is just an excuse for eliminating dissent in the country. We should learn from this lesson and be active.
Our support as a family goes to Ruth Salditos, as concerned citizens to the activist of the Philippine human rights organization Karapatan. and the workers of PFTC - Panay Fair Trade Center.
Fabio Massacci, professor at University of Trento, Italy and concerned citizen.