Karapatan indicts Duterte for fascist attacks on the people on his last year, asserts call for ICC to probe PH rights crisis

As President Rodrigo Duterte enters his last year in power, human rights watchdog Karapatan indicted Duterte for his “bloody crimes and fascist attacks against the Filipino people” as the group strongly called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “pursue its investigation into the human rights crisis in the Philippines and to prosecute Duterte for his campaigns of State terror and violence that has plagued the Filipino people for the past five years.”

“In five years, Duterte has drowned the Philippines in a bloodbath — leaving dead bodies left and right in the carnage brought upon by his sham drug war and his war on dissent and plunging the country into an alarming democratic backsliding unseen since the Marcos dictatorship. Duterte has continued to unleash his campaign of mass murder and in more terrifying and brutal forms,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay stated.

As Karapatan joined various people’s organizations, human rights advocates, and sectoral organizations in marching to Mendiola, Palabay warned that, with the 2022 national elections fast approaching, “Duterte and his allies are now working overtime to not only silence all forms of dissent and political opposition but to ensure that Duterte escapes accountability and that his bloody legacy is continued — if not to secure his fascist rule beyond 2022.”

“With the Anti-Terrorism Act and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in place, we are now under de facto martial law. We can only expect Duterte and his cabal of human rights violators and war criminals to worsen their red-tagging rampage —a State policy that has facilitated extrajudicial killings, massacres, and other forms of violence along with the further militarization of civilian bureaucracy and weaponization of judicial processes against the people,” she said.

On top of the thousands killed in the sham drug war, Karapatan has documented at least 409 victims of extrajudicial killings in line with the Duterte government’s counterinsurgency programs as of June 2021. Many of the victims were activists, unionists, human rights workers, peasant leaders, and community organizers who have been red-tagged by State security forces before they were murdered either by unidentified riding-in-tandem assailants or during police raids on their homes and offices.

These police raids have also disturbingly led to the arrests of activists based on planted evidence and search warrants issued on the basis of questionable testimonies from shady police informants. There are currently a total of 713 political prisoners incarcerated on fabricated charges, and 487 were arrested under the Duterte administration. At least 94 of them suffer from various ailments in the country’s overcrowded jails and detention facilities, 64 of them are already elderly, and 130 are women.

The Karapatan official expressed alarm that “this pattern of using search warrants to plant evidence during police raids is now emerging as the Duterte administration’s weaponize of choice to arrest and kill activists — and from previous raids in Negros, Metro Manila, and Eastern Visayas, this pattern is now being replicated in Panay, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Bicol, and Bohol. It is only a matter of time before this deadly pattern is unleashed throughout the country.”

“Impunity continues to reign in the Philippines. Domestic mechanisms of accountability have not only failed: Duterte is actively blocking all efforts to pursue justice as he intensified his violent campaign of State repression and mass murder. It is clear at this point, that the ICC should heed our calls to investigate and prosecute Duterte for the human rights crisis in the Philippines, and to indict him for his bloody crimes against the Filipino people,” Palabay continued.

“One more year of Duterte and his murderous and anti-people policies is too long. We already had enough of five years of lies, killings, and injustices, and we should end these now. We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to stand against Duterte’s tyrannical rule and to assert the call to stop the killings in the Philippines. Duterte, your days of reckoning are near — and will not back down in our struggle to pursue justice. Tama na, sobra na, wakasan na ang pasistang rehimeng Duterte,” she ended.