Government must go after the real perpetrators and must stop grandstanding

Victims say reward money for perpetrators is another posturing to cleanse GMA’s dirty HR record before the UN

Government must go after the real perpetrators and must stop grandstanding 

Farmer Raymond Manalo and Pastor Berlin Guerrero, both victims of abduction and torture by state security forces recounted their ordeal to the UN Committee Against Torture on April 27, 2009.   

They had just returned home when they heard about the P25 million-peso reward offered by Pres. Arroyo to purportedly curb extrajudicial killings and the government’s vehement reaction to the follow-up report made by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Prof. Philip Alston.

At a press conference in Quezon City today, Manalo, who survived torture and escaped from military captivity, said he is aghast that the Arroyo government boasts of taking “bold moves” to address the killings while one of his tormentors has been given a seat in Congress two weeks ago.

Manalo, who has joined the victims’ organization, Hustisya! said they did not think of any reward money when they came out in the open and likewise went to court.  He said the government knows who are behind the killings and disappearances “What they need to do is go after these perpetrators, they need not bribe people to divulge information.”   

“Major General Jovito Palparan Jr. should be the first to be tried together with his minions and other human rights violators. His place is in jail, not in the House of Representatives.”

He said survivors like himself are happy be able to get out alive and would share their stories to prevent what they had experienced from happening again.  On attending the UN Committee Against Torture and being given the chance to be heard at the Committee’s session, Manalo says it “is a big push in the fight for justice not just for ourselves but also for other victims of torture, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.”

Manalo said he and his colleagues at Hustisya! is calling on government for the implementation of the recommendations made by Prof. Alston.