Karapatan scores Noynoy Aquino’s promotion of GMA military officers; hits CHR for granting clearance

Karapatan scores anew Noynoy Aquino’s recent promotion of military officers with clear record of human rights violations, and in fact, have pending cases before civilian courts for such violations, saying that “Aquino’s act is an outright disregard for human rights.” 
 
Karapatan said that the “promotion of military officers like Año and Baladad is the height of Aquino’s callousness on the plight of rights victims and their relatives. The dark days of martial law are really upon us.”
 
“We would like to underscore the role of the Commission on Human Rights, headed by Etta Rosales, who like Noynoy Aquino has nothing but sweet talk on the supposed decline of human rights violations under the Aquino government,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. 
 
 
The CHR is mandated to issue clearances to AFP personnel who are up for promotion, “supposedly as part of the government’s thrust to uphold human rights.” Palabay however, added that “but as it is, the CHR only serves to launder the dirty record of the AFP officers by issuing clearance even to those whose hands are tainted with blood.”
Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año was implicated in the abduction and enforced disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos and is held responsible for a string of human rights violation in Southern Luzon region, while Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad has a pending criminal case for the illegal arrest and torture of the 43 health workers or “Morong 43”. Another accused in the
“Morong 43” case is Gen. Jorge Segovia, who was also promoted by Aquino.  
 
Karapatan, in September, sought CHR for copies of the clearance issued to Segovia but the CHR refused, saying that approved clearance is only released to “applicant” i.e., an AFP personnel up for promotion or deployment. “Why would access to information be denied human rights groups and victims when it involves public officials, especially those who are being charged with high crimes involving the people? The CHR should be held accountable for being party to the promotion of impunity and human rights violations, if there were indeed clearances issued for Segovia, Ano and Baladad.” Palabay said. 
 
In its annual report on rights violations, Karapatan reported that there are 129 victims of extrajudicial killings, 12 victims of enforced disappearances, 72 cases of torture and 467 victims of illegal arrests under the Aquino administration (from July 2010 to October 30, 2012). Many of the cases documented by Karapatan involve military abuses against farmers, indigenous peoples and environmental activists. ###