Lacson-Bonafos combination in Visayas means more human rights violations

"The promotion of Gen. John Bonafos as commander of the Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that conducts military operations in the Visayas, and the recent appointment of former police general Panfilo Lacson as rehabilitation czar in Yolanda-stricken provinces is BS Aquino's move not to rebuild the lives and homes of the victims but to fully implement his counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan," said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. 
 
 
"While Lacson's hands are tainted with the disappearances and torture of activists during the martial law years and Estrada administration, the new leadership of the Central Command is also accountable to human rights violations cases," Palabay said. "This is BS Aquino's 'rehabilitation'—to terrorize people,” Palabay continued.  

Gen. John Bonafos was assigned in Bohol and Ormoc City to implement the Oplan Bayanihan under the 802nd Infantry Brigade-Philippine Army in 2011-2012. In 2012, he was promoted to Brigadier General and commander of Special Operations Command based at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. He was also commander of the General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo. He was the Deputy Brigade Commander of the 302nd Brigade and the Battalion Commander of the 15th IB under the 3rd Infantry Division based in Bohol. 

Karapatan documented several cases of human rights violations committed under Bonafos' command. In Kananga, Leyte, the 19th Infantry Battallion, a unit under the 802nd IB, was responsible for the massacre of botanist Leonard Co and his two companions Julius Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez.
 
In Ormoc City, the same unit was reported to be responsible for a series of illegal arrests and detention, harassment of villagers, and the use of chapels, schools and day care centers as military barracks, endangering the lives of civilians. In January 2011, at Brgy. Sto. Nino Paranas Samar, the 87th Infantry Battalion, also a unit under the 802nd IB, forced barangay officials and village to serve as guides for their military operations. The same unit was also responsible for the torture and illegal arrest and detention of three residents of Brgy. Guimbanga, Calbiga, Samar. 

"We see that the Aquino government conveniently uses the “rehabilitation” when it means counterinsurgency operations, and to justify its entry and presence in the communities," Palabay cited.  
 
"We call on the people in the Yolanda-devastated areas to be vigilant and to remain steadfast in their effort to rebuild their lives and communities and to resist Oplan Bayanihan in the guise of 'rehabilitation program,' Palabay ended. ###