Palace, AFP list of HR achievements will not undo 129 EJK cases

“A human rights handbook, a human rights summit, a human rights office, a human rights superbody are meaningless to the victims of human rights violations. The fact still remains: the killings continue and not one perpetrator is in jail,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan on Pres. Aquino’s list of ‘initiatives to uphold human rights’.

Palabay said that the Aquino government was only “pushed to say something on the many cases of human rights violations highlighted during the recent commemoration of the International HR Day. Thus, it ranted off its so-called achievements especially because the oft-repeated line that ‘the president and his family were victims of human rights violations’ failed to illicit the expected sympathy, and could not diminish the impact of the killings, here and abroad.”

The government, Karapatan said, could not also brag about the release of the “Morong 43” saying that the arrest was “definitely illegal and the government had no reason to hold the health workers one day in jail.”  Palabay added that “we may grant Noynoy Aquino a point or two on the release of the Morong 43 but all these had now become worthless when he promoted the military officers, generals  Jorge Segovia and Aurelio Baladad who face charges for the illegal arrest and torture of the health workers.” 

Karapatan, as of October 30, documented 129 cases of extrajudicial killings, with 69 cases involving farmers and 25 indigenous peoples. Most of the victims were leaders in the people’s movement for genuine land reform and in protecting the ancestral lands from the onslaught of mining operations by transnational corporations. “Noynoy Aquino failed to mention the creation of the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary, a paramilitary group of the AFP, assigned in mining areas and is responsible for many cases of extrajudicial killing.” 

Palabay  also cited that nothing is heard of the perpetrators of the massacre of Juvy Capion and her two sons, by the 27th IB-PA, after the AFP’s initial announcement of a court martial. “The government should answer these cases, instead of coming out with a checklist of things supposedly done but are immaterial and irrelevant on the ground. Killers and perpetrators are on the loose, committing crime after crime. Now, need we mention The Butcher, Gen. Jovito Palparan?” said Palabay.   

On Monday, December 17,  it will be a year since a warrant was issued against Gen. Palparan for illegal detention and kidnapping of the two UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.