SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
In commemoration for the 40th anniversary of martial law Karapatan came out with this statement:
It may not be as visible as it was 40 years ago but, human rights violations that are indelible marks of Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law, continue to this day: illegal arrests and detention, torture, disappearance, extrajudicial killings, bombings and hamletting of communities, forced evacuation, use and proliferation of paramilitary groups, among others.
Making things worse is that people in the government, specially the President, hide behind their previous involvement in the anti-dictatorship struggle; banking on their being victims of martial law to escape accountability and responsibility on the current state of human rights in the country.
Thus, the likes of The Butcher, Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. roam freely. Torturers like Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad are being promoted, despite cases filed against them, similar to Col. Rolando Abadilla, Rodolfo Aguinaldo, and Billy Bibit who were rewarded handsomely by Marcos.
As we remember the 40th year of the imposition of martial law and the dark days that followed it, we underscore the fact that the Marcoses are back in power, occupying various government positions, while justice continues to elude the victims of the tyrannical regime; martial law was lifted but the terror machine, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, continues its violent and terrorist practices such as killings, torture, arrests, and other rights violations; the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) is now called the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) but, with the same paramilitary functions inflicting fear, repression and violence; repressive Marcosian laws and decrees that curtail basic freedom are still enforced and enacted such as the newly passed Cybercrime Prevention Law; and the same land reform program which perpetuates landlessness and legitimizes landgrabbing is in place. Names and positions may have changed but the exploitative and oppressive system remains the same.
In another statement Karapatan also pointed out:
[T]that “It is a shame how Pres. Noynoy Aquino criticized Marcos and martial law when the same things he enumerated in his speech are the same things that are happening under his government, sans the formal declaration of martial law.”
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said, “it is ridiculous to hear Noynoy Aquino disapprove of the checkpoints during martial law when the same proliferate today, especially in the rural areas; the rounding up and arrests of people who criticized the Marcos government when there are 385 political prisoners to date, 170 of them were arrested and detained under his two year old rule.”
“No amount of wreath laying and praises to the martyrs of martial law could give justice to those who offered their lives to fight the dictatorship, including his father, if Noynoy could not even work on the passage of the indemnification bill for the martial law victims – the simplest act of justice,” Palabay said.
“The problem is, Noynoy Aquino and the past administrations after Marcos all learned that they need not declare Martial law to effect terror and quell protests against their anti-people and anti-national policies. All the past administrations after Marcos, from Aquino to Aquino, failed to dismantle or at least, reorient the same structure that sustained martial law – the laws, the policies and programs, the armed forces.” concluded Palabay.