Karapatan statement on the acquittal of GMA on plunder charges

"#BoySisi, with all his fault-finding against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, failed to convict her. BS Aquino only used Arroyo as an excuse for his inefficiency and ineptitude in governance, and pursued charges against Arroyo only for show,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said, in reaction to the Supreme Court decision acquitting Arroyo from plunder charges. 

We are reminding the Supreme Court that the Arroyo government left behind 1,206 victims of political killings and 206 victims of enforced disappearances among activists, peasants, and human rights workers,” Palabay said. “The United Nations Human Rights Committee issued its separate resolutions on the Philippine Government's accountability on the killings of Benjaline Hernandez, Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy. Yet, the BS Aquino government did not pursue Arroyo's prosecution based on the UNHRC recommendations,” Palabay said.

Karapatan also underscored that the BS Aquino government's failure to prosecute and punish Arroyo on rights abuses is evident in the status of civil and criminal charges filed by the Morong 43 and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in 2011. "There was no substantial progress on these cases," Palabay said. 

It was also during the Arroyo regime that the Ampatuan massacre happened. "The case which symbolizes the height of impunity remains unresolved during the whole Aquino term. Arroyo, just like Aquino, has benefitted from the systematic human rights violations in order to stay in power and plunder the nation’s coffers,” Palabay said. 

Karapatan said that while plunderers and murderers like Arroyo are set free from prison, more than 500 political prisoners remain in jail, many of them arrested during the Arroyo regime. Among them are NDFP peace consultants and Jasig-protected persons such as Eduardo Sarmiento, Leopoldo Caloza, Emeterio Antalan, and Edgardo Friginal. 

"The challenge for the Duterte administration is to render justice for those whose rights were violated by the Arroyo and Aquino regime. Arroyo and Aquino should be prosecuted and punished," Palabay ended.