Arroyo is the human rights violator, not the victim

“The findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN WGAD) regarding the ‘complaint’ of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shows the BS Aquino regime’s wishy-washy prosecution and special treatment of GMA on the cases of plunder filed against her. Instead of giving due course to the strong criminal and civil cases filed by the Morong 43 and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines against GMA and her military generals, the Aquino administration drags its feet in pursuing GMA’s accountability for human rights abuses because these are the same rights violations perpetrated under its watch,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said referring to the UN WGAD’s view that the detention of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo violated international human rights law.



In a letter sent to the UN WGAD on March 2015, Karapatan said “Thus, it is truly ironic that Ms. Arroyo would speak of civil and political rights, when her administration is considered as among the most repressive regimes in the Philippines. Karapatan has documented 1,206 victims of extrajudicial killing, 206 victims of enforced disappearances, more than 2,000 cases of illegal arrests, and thousands forcibly evacuated during her nine-year presidency. The Arroyo administration has violated every single article of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

"The BS Aquino government coddled GMA generals like Gen. Eduardo Ano and Gen. Aurelio Baladad, and even promoted to them to the higher posts to fully implement his counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan," Palabay said. "BS Aquino's version of Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya has also caused 282 lives on politically motivated extrajudicial killings," Palabay cited.

Karapatan said “The UN WGAD should have been circumspect in its investigation and recommendations on the complaint regarding GMA, most especially in the context of the human rights violations during the former President's term of office and the climate of impunity that it has fostered.”

Palabay said the UN WGAD should have considered the many views issued by the UN Human Rights Council and treaty bodies, in relation to the human rights situation. 

She noted that the 2008 and 2010 UN Human Rights Committee findings pointed to the accountability of the the GMA administration for the extrajudicial killings of Karapatan human rights workers Eden Marcellana and Benjaline Hernandez, and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy. Similarly, the human rights record of the GMA administration was strongly criticized in the report presented by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Prof. Philip Alston to the UN Human Rights Council in 2007.

“Sadly, years after such reports of UN special procedures and treaty bodies, most of the recommendations remain unheeded or just given lip service as perpetrators and Ms. Arroyo remain free from accountability. Rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, political activists, and community leaders resisting large scale development projects, particularly indigenous leaders, are still being committed with impunity under the current administration, which we deem is no different from Ms. Arroyo’s kind of governance,” Palabay said.

"One message is clear in the UNWGAD's findings: that the BS Aquino administration can and may do the same tact when it is his turn to be prosecuted for his crimes against the Filipino people. That, for us, is very dangerous message," Palabay concluded.













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