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Victims of human rights abuses knock at door of Carpio-Morales Torture survivors urge new Ombudsman to resolve case vs military

“Kahit gaano katagal, hindi kami susuko. Ang mahalaga mabigyan ng katarungan ang nangyari sa amin. Nananawagan kami sa bagong Ombudsman na si Conchita Carpio-Morales na umaksyon sa mga nakabinbing reklamo at bigyang-katarungan ang mga biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao.” (However long this takes, we will never give up. What is important is we get justice for what was done to us. We urge newly-appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to act on the cases filed before the agency that aim to seek justice for victims of human rights violations.)

Palparan and his men must face a swift trial towards imprisonment

Today is the first hearing in the Department of Justice’s preliminary investigation on the criminal case against Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr.  and the other officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the continued disappearance of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.  "If presented with a chance, how we would love to let Palparan, Jr and the other AFP men feel the pain they inflicted on our daughters, but we know they deserve more punishment than that," mothers of the missing University of the Philippines students said during the hearing. 

Mrs. Erlinda T. Cadapan and Mrs. Concepcion E. Empeño filed criminal cases of rape, serious physical injuries, arbitrary detention and maltreatment of prisoners against retired General Palparan, Jr. and other members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines namely, Lieutenant Colonels Rogelio Boac and Felipe Anotado, 2nd Lieutenant Francis Mirabelle Samson, Master Sergeants Donald Caigas and Rizal Hilario.

THE CURRENT SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER PRESIDENT AQUINO

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III took off where Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo left off—KARAPATAN

“No substantial change from the GMA regime,” is how Karapatan describes the current human rights situation in the country. 

Jigs Clamor, acting Secretary General of Karapatan said that “instead of P-Noy blaming GMA for the problems he supposedly inherited from her regime, he should immediately stop human rights abuses that are happening under his own government and also go after GMA and her generals to bring justice to the victims of the past regime.”

In a statement, Karapatan states that ‘’despite the promise of change, state terror and violence continue to be used against those who fight or criticize the current policies and programs of the government that are essentially a continuation of the GMA’s globalization framework. President Aquino likewise continued to implement GMA’s OPLAN BANTAY LAYA during his first six months.” 

Karapatan's statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

“The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an occasion to underscore the internationally recognized right of all men and women to live free from torture.  It is an opportunity to reaffirm our collective commitment to prohibit torture and all cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.”

-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
Message for the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2010

Today, as the world commemorates the United Nation’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Karapatan through its chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez expressed concern on the continuing practice of torture and ill-treatment being committed by the Philippine State security forces against Filipinos and persons they suspect as  “enemies of the state, terrorists or rebels”, all in the name of “anti-terrorism or national or internal security program .”

“What makes it worst is the AFP’s barefaced denial that they use torture against those whom they arrest and detain, making it appear that the victims and witnesses are liars,” claims Hilao-Enriquez. 
Earlier, Commodore Miguel Rodriguez, AFP spokesperson said that, “torture is not part of AFP policy,” under the present administration and not even under the previous GMA regime, practically washing off the hands of PGMA and her military officials of their bloodied human rights record.

Lie after Lie

“You cannot escape accountability with another lie,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez in reaction to Gen. Eduardo Oban’s statement that there is “no HR (human rights) violations this year.” 

AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Oban earlier said in a news report that Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s version of GMA’s Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program, is  “working” because it abides by ‘’human rights and international humanitarian law.’’ 

“It is an oxymoron to say that a counter-insurgency program is respectful of human rights,” retorts Hilao-Enriquez. “The ordinary folks, whom the President referred to as his boss, are the victims of Oplan Bayanihan—they were displaced from their homes and communities, harassed, arrested and detained, tortured and killed.