Whitewashes, impunity, and distortions

The Washington Post did an excellent job of circling back and following up on the secret jail scandal at Police Station No. 1 in Tondo, blown open by the Commission on Human Rights two months ago.

The takeaways:

  1.  It appears that police were extorting money from relatives of people who were illegally detained at the secret jail.
  2. The Commission on Human Rights has done a really shitty job of protecting the people who were illegally detained.
  3. The police and thug administration are in the process of whitewashing the whole mess and blaming the media for making it an issue.

Meanwhile, it looks like the usual impunity will reign regarding the blatant police rubout of a Leyte mayor who was shot to death in a jail cell.

Charges of murder have been inexplicably downgraded to homicide, allowing the police suspects to be released on bail.  It sure looks like this case is destined to quietly fade away like so many others.

And CNN and other media are engaging in some journalistic shorthand that casually rewrites history and paints a very distorted picture of the ongoing siege of Marawi City.

CNN reported that “Philippines soldiers have been mired in grinding urban warfare with ISIS-aligned fighters ever since a surprise attack on Marawi on May 23,” and that “Militants stormed the city, clashing with government troops and prompting Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.”

But the truth is that the conflagration began with a botched attempt to apprehend alleged terrorist boss Isnilon Hapilon.  Only after that operation was initiated did swarms of militant reinforcements respond with a massive counterattack that resulted in the ongoing siege.

It certainly appears that government forces badly underestimated the level of resistance they were in for, did not have adequate forces and supplies ready to meet the threat, and led their troops straight into a hornet’s nest.

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