Karapatan 2005 Human Rights Report

karapatan report 2005 The Philippine human rights situation in 2005 can be characterized by the wanton use of repression and state terror by a scandal-rocked President desperately clinging to power in the face of the people’s rejection.

The Arroyo regime suffered its worst political crisis this year as evidence of cheating and electoral fraud began to surface in May, putting Pres. Arroyo’s legitimacy on the line. While attempts to impeach the President were thwarted in the administration-dominated Congress, the charges of electoral fraud, corruption and massive human rights violations stuck, haunting Arroyo for the rest of the year.

Opposition to the Arroyo regime increased immensely in the second half of 2005 with 10 members of her cabinet resigning en masse to call for her resignation by July. The broad oust-Arroyo movement grew to include personalities and groups of such diverse backgrounds and political persuasions as former presidents Aquino and Estrada, the political opposition, the Left, various sectoral formations, Muslim organizations, Catholic, Protestant and born-again groups, the academe, big business and a host of organizations of former military officials, just to name a few. At one point, surveys indicated that 79% of the population wanted Arroyo impeached, 64% wanted her to resign, while 51% wanted her ousted via People Power. (Social Weather Stations, 10 September 2005) Underlying the political crisis was the deep, unabated economic crisis which hit hard on majority of Filipinos. Government’s desperate attempt to highlight some positive economic data in the later part of the year failed to conceal the reality of lost jobs, dwindling incomes and a still precarious fiscal condition.

In the face of all these, the Arroyo regime turned from weak to desperate, becoming more violent and insidious in quelling the public clamor for her removal from office and for basic economic reforms. After the killing of the impeachment complaint on a technicality by the House of Representatives, she went to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York, seeking American support for her embattled regime. Right after her return, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) went all-out in harassing the opposition, attacking the swelling protest movement, militarizing the countryside and eliminating her political opponents in the name of counter-insurgency and the USled war on terror. Civil liberties are being blatantly constricted. Political killings and human rights violations are intensifying.

It was in this context that KARAPATAN recorded 874 cases of human rights violations victimizing 99,011 individuals, 14,302 families in 288 communities for the period of January to November 30 this year, making 2005 possibly the worst year for human rights in the post-Marcos era.

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