Philippine human rights defenders tag counterinsurgency policy as PNoy’s way of honoring GMA and Palparan’s legacy of terror

INT’L SUPPORT FOR BUTCHER PALPARAN’S ARREST SOUGHT

[Geneva, Switzerland, March 7, 2012] An ecumenical delegation of Philippine human rights defenders asked for the support of international NGOs and foreign missions based in Geneva to call on the Philippine government “to step up its efforts to arrest Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. and to stop honoring his legacy of military terror and violence through Oplan Bayanihan.” 

In a side event sponsored by the Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte - Philippinen/ Action Network Human Rights Philippines, Amnesty International and the Franciscans International parallel to the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Karapatan spokesperson and Philippine UPR Watch convener Cristina Palabay said the climate of impunity exists to this day as there has been no let-up in the terror and killings.

“A continuum exists of the previous counter-insurgency policy to the present one, Oplan Bayanihan, that perpetuates the same brand of terror, however cloaked with buzzwords such as “human rights,” “peace and development,” and “security sector reform. Through this policy, Aquino continues Arroyo’s and Palparan’s legacy of terror and violence,” she stated. 

Palabay cited the lackluster efforts of Aquino in prosecuting and putting behind bars perpetrators  such as Palparan and former Pres. Arroyo. Palparan is still at-large, months after a warrant of arrest has been issued against him for the abduction, torture and rights violations against UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño. On one hand, damage suits were filed by the Morong 43 health workers and religious leaders of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines against Arroyo. None of these cases, she said, were initiated by the Aquino administration, “despite his campaign promises on making accountable violators of human rights.” 

“The extrajudicial killing of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio, a priest known for his empathy and support for indigenous communities against mining activities and militarization, exemplifies the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines,” she further said. 

Palabay said Palparan’s legacy lives on with the killing of Tentorio and the more recent case of farmer Jovito Pajanustan in Northern Samar, a province where Palparan was previously assigned and where numerous rights violations were attributed to him. 

Palabay was joined in the Philippine UPR Watch delegation by Atty. Edre Olalia of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL); Nardy Sabino of the Promotion of the Church People’s Response (PCPR); Sr. Stella Matutina of the environmental advocacy group, Panalipdan! Mindanao and Barug Katungod Mindanao consortium of human rights defenders; and, Maribel Mapanao of the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP)– Switzerland.

The delegation also briefed foreign missions, international organizations and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekkagya on the state of human rights under Aquino. The second cycle of UPR of the Philippines will be held this May 28 to June 3, 2012.

 

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