Credibility of ‘superbody’ for rights violations questioned

Karapatan criticized the “superbody” created by the Aquino government to investigate the killings, disappearances, torture and other rights violations “for the inclusion of the Defense Secretary, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and director general of the Philippine National Police in the inter-agency committee which will be formed through an Administrative Order.”

Thus said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, today as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima released Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s Administrative Order No. 35 creating the “superbody” to look into the cases of grave rights violations.

“How can this body have the credibility to investigate into the cases of violations perpetuated by the AFP and the PNP, when they will be part of the investigation? Parang nakakaloko naman ito. We will only hear again their plethora of denials and lies,” said Palabay.

“Unless the Aquino government shows genuine will for justice and human rights and abandon its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, the superbody would mean nothing to victims and their kin.”

Palabay said the killings have continued under Aquino, with 114 victims of extrajudicial killings under his watch, and not one perpetrator has been put behind bars. “Oplan Bayanihan, that victimizes civilians in the course of counter-insurgency, has spawned these violations. What now is our assurance that the killings will be solved by this special team?” she stated.

Karapatan also hit the superbody’s supposed mandate to investigate state and non-state actors” involved in rights abuses, as another “ploy of the Aquino government to muddle the issue of the main responsibility of state security forces/actors in all of the violations.”

“The cases of Leonardo Co and Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio have long been pending before the DOJ. Up to now, DOJ has not shed light on these cases that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators and masterminds. What we need now are results, and for the government to go after the perpetrators of human rights violations. The victims and their families deserve no less than justice,” Palabay concluded. ###