Aquino’s human rights record for first 100 days: Same policy of State Terrorism and Impunity
Human rights record of the US-Aquino regime in its first 100 days: same policy of state terrorism and impunity; persistent worsening human rights situation
THE FILIPINO PEOPLE MUST ASSERT AND DEFEND THEIR RIGHTS TO LIVELIHOOD, FREEDOM AND JUSTICE!
POLITICAL KILLINGS, ABDUCTIONS, TRUMPED-UP CHARGES, ILLEGAL ARRESTS, TORTURE, DETENTION AND MILITARIZATION CONTINUE WITH IMPUNITY AND ARE GETTING WORSE.
We in KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights), together with HUSTISYA!, DESAPARECIDOS, Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP), and SELDA, are crying out for justice with the mass of the Filipino people as we hold President Benigno Simeon Aquino III accountable for the continuing human rights violations under his watch.
We condemn the intensifying wave of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances committed by the state security forces. The first 100 days in office of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III have already claimed the lives of at least 16 victims; the number is about to equal if not surpass the 18 killed in the last six months of the past regime (January-June 2010). Already 2 victims are already missing in Surigao del Sur. The manner of the slaying has become even more horrendous — with houses forcibly entered, victims dragged, tortured and killed right in front of their families and loved ones.
Save for “showcases” like the Ampatuan massacre, the perpetrators of 1,207 killings, 205 enforced disappearances and hundreds of human rights violations cases under the Arroyo regime are still NOT prosecuted and convicted. Hence; the continuing impunity. Most of the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur Professor Philip Alston are left unheeded. Whatever little remedy that victims’families were able to gain at the UN Human Rights Committee on the complaints filed with it as in the two EJK cases brought to its attention (Marcellana & Gumanoy in 2006 and favorably judged by the UNHRC in 2008) remain elusive as the government did NOT ACT on any of the instructions of the Committee up till now.
Recently, another case – that of the killing of Benjaline Hernandez – filed with the UNHRC in 2006 has just obtained a favorable ruling. But, just like the other two cases, the families and human rights defenders are waiting for the government’s action to implement the UNHRC views.
Today, there are still 388 political prisoners languishing in various military camps and detention cells throughout the country. Among them are the Morong 43 health workers illegally searched, arrested, detained and tortured under false charges. While Aquino’s mother released all 441 prisoners of conscience in her first two months in office, the son did not even make any reference on them.
Like his predecessor, the President made bold announcements on human rights; but sadly, these remain general statements without substance and real meaning to victims as his words are just empty rhetoric meant to appease the Filipino public and the international community. Now the state security forces have been emboldened to commit more appalling violations and crimes against humanity as the supposed new administration just carries on the economic and political policies of the regime it just replaced.
Pres. Aquino promised to “solve” the killings, but the killings go on. He formed a “Truth Commission,” but cases of human rights violations are excluded from its investigation. The Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG), an agency formed under the counter-insurgency program that was responsible for slapping of false charges against activists, was supposedly abolished last year; but, a whole new set of trumped-up charges are being levelled against leaders, activists and human rights defenders. PNoy commanded a “rights-based” military offensive, as the AFP is continuing its historically mercenary role.
The President as commander-in-chief remained deaf to calls of abandoning the counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), that engendered the gross and systematic violations of the previous hated regime. Instead, Pres. Aquino and his military officials extended the anti-people OBL till December 2010 and announced putting in place of a new counter-insurgency plan similarly backed by the US government next year.
We denounce the continuing militarization of rural and urban areas where most of the killings, enforced disappearances, abductions, torture, bombings and displacement of entire communities are being done by state and state-sponsored forces for the benefit of big business.
The justice system is being abused in a marked offensive of filing conjured criminal charges against leaders, activists and critics branded as “terrorists”. The recent rulings of the Supreme Court bring much worry rather than assurance to the poor as it convicted victims of torture, strips them of an already slim protection and displays a propensity to tip the balance of justice towards more powerful families who already have more in life and even more in law for centuries.
Thus, we are sounding the clarion call for justice in this first 100 days of the Noynoy Aquino administration. Nothing has changed. Human rights must be defended as we march defiantly against an unjust order, being maintained by the present administration and backed up by the same US imperial power that has propped up Philippine dispensations that violated the rights of their own people. We are confident that the exploited and oppressed masses shall not waiver in the commitment of the Filipino people for genuine freedom, democracy, peace and progress.
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.