Mr. Lacierda the issue is Aquino’s human rights record

“The issue, Mr. Lacierda, is not the Dutch man, the Crying Cop, or your blabber on the Left. The issue is Noynoy Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address that deliberately evaded the violations of civil, political, economic and socio-cultural rights of the Filipino people. The issue is the continuing extrajudicial killings, unsolved cases of rights abuses and the pervading state of impunity, which already caught the attention of the international community. These are issues that Noynoy Aquino cannot address head on,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
 
Palabay said that “Aquino’s SONA, teemed with praises and commendations for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP), serves as directive to the state security forces to continue their attacks on people’s rights. This is concretized by the display of police brutality last Monday against the demonstrators. A single crying cop cannot negate nor dispute that scores were wounded and arrested among the protesters.”
 

 
“The issue, Mr. Lacierda, is you resort to red tagging to cover up human rights violations. Such tactic already resulted to 142 documented cases of extrajudicial killing and 164 frustrated killing; 16 incidents of enforced disappearance; 76 cases of torture; 293 cases of illegal arrest and detention, all under the Noynoy Aquino administration,” Palabay added.
 
A day after the SONA, two Lumad children were arbitrarily arrested, tortured and detained by the 26th Infantry Battalion and the paramilitary Bagani force in Brgy. Kauswagan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur. Jay-ar Basilisco, 17, and Arnel Tolentino, 16, were arrested while on their way to the barangay center for the voters’ registration. They are currently detained at the PNP station in Loreto. Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said that torture marks are evident on different parts of their bodies.
 
The continuing rights violations were among the concerns raised in the recently concluded International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, co-organized by Karapatan.
 
“More than a hundred of the conference delegates who joined the SONA rally felt the importance to express their indignation over the human rights violations committed by the Aquino administration through Oplan Bayanihan. They have been active in the campaigns for human rights and peace issues in the past years having listened to the voices of the victims; they visited communities affected by bombings and intensified AFP combat operations; they experienced military harassment and surveillance in the communities and during the conference; they have witnessed first-hand how the right to assembly and to conduct peaceful protest actions were wantonly disregarded during the SONA rally,” Palabay said.
 
Palabay said that social activists from other countries, like Thomas van Beersum, who reportedly questioned the violent dispersal during the SONA rally, have the right to express their opinion and to undertake various forms of expression of solidarity for the poor and oppressed Filipino people, a right guaranteed in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which the Philippines is a signatory.
 
“During the dark days of martial law and under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, when gross human rights violations were committed, freedom-loving peoples and individuals from various countries helped in generating support for human rights organizations and victims to pressure the Philippine government to stop extra-judicial killings and other gross violations.
 
We should appreciate and honor such show of international solidarity that remains as consistent and unwavering up to this day, despite Aquino spinmeisters’ portrayal of a pretty picture of the country’s human rights situation in the international community. We are thankful that the internationalists see through Malacanang’s lies and continue to stand by the oppressed and exploited majority of the Filipino people,” Palabay concluded.  ###