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Philippines president names panel to probe extrajudicial political killings

[JURIST] Philippine President Gloria Arroyo [official website; BBC profile] on Monday appointed an independent commission [press release] to investigate "the series of extrajudicial killings of journalists and militant activists in the country." Arroyo has been criticized for the government's failure to solve the growing number of politically motivated killings of leftist activists and journalists. Members of Bayan [advocacy website], a leftist advocacy group, question the credibility of the commission. A Bayan press release [text] quotes Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary general, as commenting that "it is truly ironic that government agencies who have a record of covering up for the administration are now the ones being tasked to conduct an independent probe of the political killings." A government spokesman defended the independence of the commission [press release], saying that the panel will be "given a free hand in conducting its investigations."

Amnesty International [advocacy website] last week called on the Philippines to investigate the killings [AI report] and resolve "a continuing failure by the authorities to act with due diligence in investigating and prosecuting such violations." VOA has more. The Manila Times has local coverage.

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