Karapatan to Noynoy Aquino: Do your father, ML martyrs justice; end impunity, stop human rights violations

Karapatan today said that “It is a shame how Pres. Noynoy Aquino criticized Marcos and martial law when the same things he enumerated in his speech are the same things that are happening under his government, sans the formal declaration of martial law.” 

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said, “it is ridiculous to hear Noynoy Aquino disapprove of the checkpoints during martial law when the same proliferate today, especially in the rural areas; the rounding up and arrests of people who criticized the Marcos government when there are 385 political prisoners to date, 170 of them were arrested and detained under his two year old rule.”

Karapatan said that aside from political prisoners, extrajudicial killings, torture, paramilitary groups, forced evacuation that were highly identified with martial law still exist. “It is the height of hypocrisy and deception for Noynoy to rebuke the Marcos dictatorship for “salvaging” when there are more than a hundred victims of extrajudicial killings under his government. The same Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary groups are the perpetrators. Certainly, there is dissonance between today’s realities and Noynoy’s statement saying, he didn’t want the people to go through the same sufferings his father experienced.” said Palabay. 

Yesterday, Karapatan received a report on the killing of another tribal leader in Agusan del Sur, Genesis Ambason, 23, who was shot and tortured to death by paramilitary men and soldiers of the 26th IB in Agusan on September 13. Ambason was a human rights activist, who also actively campaigned against the entry of large-scale, foreign-owned mining corporations in their ancestral land. Mining investments are among Noynoy Aquino’s centerpiece programs.  

“No amount of wreath laying and praises to the martyrs of martial law could give justice to those who offered their lives to fight the dictatorship, including his father, if Noynoy could not even work on the passage of the indemnification bill for the martial law victims – the simplest act of justice,” Palabay said. 

“The problem is, Noynoy Aquino and the past administrations after Marcos all learned that they need not declare Martial law to effect terror and quell protests against their anti-people and anti-national policies. All the past administrations after Marcos, from Aquino to Aquino, failed to dismantle or at least,  reorient the same structure that sustained martial law – the laws, the policies and programs, the armed forces.” concluded Palabay.