AFP P19.25M reward to “informers” a rip-off at the expense of people’s rights

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines has no right to brag about the capture of ‘terrorist personalities and communist leaders’ through their so-called informants. It’s a shame that it spent P19.25 million of the nation’s money for capturing and torturing people like security guard Rolly Panesa  and presenting him as “Benjamin Mendoza”,  a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines, for the prize of P5.6 million. It’s simply a rip-off, an organized racket,” commented  Karapatan’s secretary general Cristina Palabay. Panesa has been in jail for 10 months now.

Palabay added, “the AFP committed the same violation to Oligario Sebas , a resident of Tuburan, Cebu who was also jailed because of the AFP’s claim that he is “Felimon Mendrez”, allegedly a CPP leader in Bohol.” The AFP said Sebas had a P5.2 million on his head and was on the list of the Department of National Defense-Department of Interior and Local Government Joint Orders on Reward or Joint Order 14.2012.  Sebas was released through a writ of habeas corpus.

Karapatan, in earlier statements, lambasted the Joint Order 14.2012 saying “it is no different from the secret hit list of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya which resulted to thousands of cases of human rights violations ranging from illegal arrest and detention, enforced disappearances and political killings.”

The said DND-DILG Joint Order was used  to legitimize the enforced disappearance, illegal arrest and detention of Estelita T. Tacalan, a 60-year old peasant organizer and rural health worker in Misamis Oriental.  Tacalan was reported missing on April 27 and was surfaced on May 7  at the Dipolog City Jail where she is currently detained.

“The DND-DILG’s secret hitlist should be scrapped as it has become the basis to arrest, detain, and torture people on false charges; or worse, disappeared or killed. The AFP should also be held accountable for squandering the people’s money to violate people rights. These acts confirms the AFP’s own admission that the Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan is a failure” said Palabay.