Karapatan on the statements of Esperon, Badoy and Uson regarding the group’s complaint recently filed at the Ombudsman

It would do well for former General Esperon, Undersecretary Badoy and Undersecretary Uson to read well the complaint that we filed at the Ombudsman yesterday because what we filed are very serious charges on their crimes against humanity, their graft and corrupt practices as public officers in their incitement of undue injury to Karapatan, and their slanderous and defamatory acts against our organization.

Please read what is there and do not read what is not there.

In the interest of facts amid wrongful information peddled around, we remind the respondents that:

  1. There has been no definitive and final decision on the petition for the writ of amparo and habeas data that we filed at the Supreme Court, which includes them as respondents. We filed a petition for review at the Supreme Court, assailing the Court of Appeals decision - handed out after a singular 3-hout ‘summary’ hearing - on our case as we asserted that the CA division committed grievous errors of judgment and jurisdiction. The SC decision has yet to come out more than a year after we filed our petition for review.
  2. I was among the petitioners together with Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate in the 2015 petition for the writ of amparo and habeas data. While the SC decided not to grant such, we note the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, where he described that “red-baiting” is the Philippines’ version of McCarthyism:

    To make it easy for military and paramilitary units to silence or cause untold human rights abuses on vocal dissenters, government agents usually resort to stereotyping or caricaturing individuals. This is accomplished by providing witnesses who, under coercive and intimidating conditions, identify the leaders of organizations critical of the administration as masterminds of ordinary criminal acts. Not only does this make these leaders' lives and liberties vulnerable, a chilling effect on dissent is also generated among similar-minded individuals.

    We didn’t invent the term “red-baiting” or “red-tagging.” Any diligent, sober and well-meaning student of history can trace the concept, policy and practices of such to years when revolutions and counter-revolutions in the Philippine and global context.
  3. We didn’t file a particular petition seeking the writ of amparo and habeas data for Karapatan during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, when General Esperon had his stint as AFP Chief of Staff, but we supported many victims of abduction and relatives of desaparecidos in filing such petitions. Some of them were granted by the court and remain landmark jurisprudence, even as they may appear pyrrhic victories in the present context.
  4. Domestic and international humanitarian law covers BOTH combatants and civilians, and what is clear in these instruments is precisely the distinction between combatants and civilians. We invite the respondents to read the actual texts of these instruments as well as vast documents of human rights experts on this issue, before they pontificate as experts on matters beyond their competence or profession.

    As a matter of fact, the main thrust and raison d’ etre of international humanitarian law is primarily to protect civilians and civilian populations. It is the laws of war and not laws of war strategies and tactics.

    Having said this, one of the legal bases of our complaint is domestic humanitarian law (Republic Act 9851) and not international humanitarian law per se as understood in international law. Though intimately related, they are distinct and apply in different fora using distinct legal frameworks.

We hope the foregoing would correct misreadings based on inaccurate and misleading spins that smack of bigotry and intolerance which in turn precisely validate the very serious charges we have leveled against the respondents.

Thank you for the opportunity to clear things up and get the facts straight.