THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, Karapatan, reacting to Pres. Aquino's appointment of Gen. Raul Bacalzo to replace Director General Jesus Versoza as the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the move "only created one more blunder in the bumbling police force."
"The PNP received international denigration in the blotched rescue effort during the August 23 hostage-taking crisis. Gen. Bacalzo, as the former head of Task Force Usig to solve the killings of journalists and activists, had not really performed his duty to pin down the culprits in 1,206 cases of extrajudicial killings. Even as a bar topnotcher, justice has not been served by Bacalzo," Karapatan chair Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.
THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, dared the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), chaired by Aquino-appointee Etta Rosales, to dismiss CHR Special Investigator III Jess Cañete in Negros Oriental for violating the Paris Principles adopted by the United Nations in human rights.
"The key elements of the composition of a national institution for human rights are its independence and pluralism. Jess Cañete, as a CHR official, is clearly not fit for the job. He is biased, partial and even malicious in the performance of his supposed duty," said Dennis Abarrientos, Secretary General of Karapatan – Central Visayas.
Special Investigator III Cañete gloated in a Philippine News Agency story that Karapatan is "pathetic" in filing charges against government officials and that it leave Negros Oriental and stay in Negros Occidental.
The human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, dismissed current AFP proposals for "people's participation" in counter-insurgency operations as it revealed grave human rights violations in the on-going AFP military campaign in Brgy. Mahaba, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur.
About 164 families with 754 individuals, including 98 children ages 0 to 5 years old and seven pregnant women, in three sitios of Palompon, Boringon and Loknodon of Barangay Mahaba in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur province, Mindanao, were displaced as a result of the military operations under Oplan Bantay-Laya extended by Pres. Aquino.
Troops of the 36th IB PA under Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Rene Canete and elements of the Scout Rangers; Surigao del Sur under PNP Director Quinonez conducted the local operations.
Last August 22, Marihatag local government officials initiated a dialogue between the residents and the government forces. The commanding officer of the 36th IBPA, Lt. Col. Rene Canete and 1Lt. Serihim Temperante, attended the dialogue as well as the barangay council members of Brgy. Mahaba. The residents pleaded with the soldiers to leave their community but they refused citing the National Government’s anti-insurgency campaign as justification of their presence.
AS SOON as Malacanang announced that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III took full responsibility for the botched police rescue in the August 23 hostage-taking crisis, the human rights alliance KARAPATAN dared the President to “also take full responsibility for the on-going human rights violations committed by the police and the military.”
The human rights alliance Karapatan condemns the brazen attack against Fr. Jose Francisco Talaban, whose convent was strafed by several armed men last June 26 in Casiguran, Aurora, and the continuing human rights violations spurred by the military’s extended counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.
Speaking at a press conference on the report of the Ecumenical Solidarity Mission which was conducted on August 24 to 28, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor expressed alarm over the Mission’s findings which shows a characteristic pattern of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its counter-insurgency campaign.
“Karapatan has documented a number of cases wherein the victims are vilified as members or sympathizers of armed revolutionary groups, such as the New People’s Army; harassed and intimidated by state security forces, prior to graver human rights violations,” Clamor deplored.