Karapatan to Army chief Emmanuel Bautista: tell that to the marines

“It’s psywar, not respect for human rights. The disconnect between Bautista’s statement and the reality on the ground is the result of a paradox between respect for human rights and Oplan Bayanihan, the Aquino government’s version of the United States’ Counterinsurgency program 2009, which Bautista penned,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan. 

Among the many cases of human rights violations under Oplan Bayanihan, Karapatan cited the recent massacre of Juvy Capion and her two sons, both minors, on October 18 by elements of the 27th IB of the Phil. Army. They were killed when the military strafed the house where they were sleeping. Capion was two-months pregnant. 

Karapatan also documented the case of Genesis Ambason, a tribal leader and anti-mining activist who was shot and tortured to death on September 13 by members of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and elements of the 26th IB Detachment in a barangay in San Luis, Agusan del Sur. When found, Ambason’s face was beyond recognition, his teeth were all gone and his head shrunk due to torture inflicted on him.

Karapatan said that “in both cases, along with the many other human rights violations committed under Oplan Bayanihan, such as the killing of botanist Leonard Co and Italian priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio, not one of the perpetrators were put to jail.” 

“It is not surprising that Bautista would blabber about human rights because deceptive catch phrases such as ‘respect for human rights’ ‘peace and development’ are inherent in Oplan Bayanihan’s design, precisely to couch human rights violations that are committed in the course of its implementation,” added Hilao-Enriquez.

Hilao-Enriquez stressed that, “as the Aquino government, through the AFP, intensifies its combat operations, it is necessary for them to amplify its psywar operations. It’s their image sanitizer.”