On the approval of the Anti-Disappearance bill
Karapatan appreciates the approval of the Anti-Disappearance bill by a bicameral committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as it challenged the Noynoy Aquino government to immediately end its practice of enforced disappearance among activists and suspected members of the revolutionary movement.
Karapatan has documented 12 victims of enforced disappearance since Noynoy Aquino became President, and in the course of the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan.
“The law will remain a meaningless compilation of words, unless the Aquino government goes after, and swiftly punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime, mostly members of its own armed forces,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Karapatan cited the Anti-Torture law which was passed in 2009, “but has not prevented the use of torture among political prisoners during detention; and against activists and those suspected to be members or sympathizers of armed revolutionary groups during combat operations in the rural areas.”
Recently, a security guard, Rolly Panesa , was illegally arrested, tortured and detained because he was mistaken for a certain Benjamin Mendoza, whom the military claims as the secretary of the Community Party of the Philippines in Southern Luzon. Panesa was severely beaten during interrogation in Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna that even officials at the Special Intensive Care Area-Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (SICA-BJMP) refused custody unless they were given a medical certificate.
Palabay added that Panesa’s case and the 70 other cases of torture documented by Karapatan under the Aquino government, “show that unless the government is decisive in taking concrete measures to end the use torture, enforced disappearance and other forms of abuses to silence dissent, a law that is meant to uphold people’s rights would have no real effect.”
Karapatan dared the government to initiate filing of charges now and jail Gen. Jovito Palparan and his likes, who were involved in the disappearances of hundreds of activists. It also called for the junking of Oplan Bayanihan, because human rights violations are largely committed in the course of its implementation as “it is an anti-thesis to whatever little measure there is to uphold human rights,” said Palabay.