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.
Reference: Rupert Estanislao, chair
The San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP) is outraged to hear that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is refusing to obey court orders in transferring over the known murderer and terrorist, retired Lieutenant Colonel Eduardo “Red” Kapunan, from military “custody” over to a civilian detention center. Kapunan, a former lead member of the right-wing extremist group Reformed Armed Forces Movement (RAM), has been wanted for the murder of Kilusang Mayo Uno chair Rolando Olalia, and labor organizer Leonor Alay-ay since 1986.
On Monday, presiding Judge Ma. Consejo Gengos-Ignalaga of the Antipolo Regional Trial Court Branch 98, ordered the AFP to immediately transfer Kapunan out of military custody into civilian custody.
“Since Kapunan is no longer in the active service as an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military does not have jurisdiction over him. Thus, his immediate transfer to a civilian detention facility is necessary,” read the court order.
The families of Olalia, Alay-ay, and concerned lawyers and human rights groups, have feared that the military is coddling one of “their own” and are also concerned that the AFP is trying to usurp the power of the legal system.
“Once again we see that a culture of impunity is being fostered by the AFP and President Noynoy Aquino,” said the chair of SF CHRP, Rupert Estanislao, “It makes sense that the AFP would be protecting Kapunan as they sees him as one of ‘their own.’ The AFP has been implicated in dozens of murders of national democratic activists and community organizers since Aquino took office. They have the blood of the people dripping from their butcher aprons. The same can be said for Kapunan whose organization, RAM, justified the murders of Olalia and Alay-ay as ‘protecting the nation’ from ‘communists infiltrators.’”
Kapunan’s private lawyer petitioned the Rizal court to not have him transferred to civilian detention due to his “medical needs” and due to “death threats” against him and his family. All though no evidence was given on the supposed “death threats” and the “inadequacy” of the medical facilities in and around the Rizal detention facilities.
“Why is the AFP suddenly concerned with the health and welfare of someone in their custody?” Said Estanislao. “The AFP has never even showed a kernel of concern for the health and welfare of the political prisoners they have been abusing since Aquino took office. They have refused court orders to transfer the elderly Tirso Alcantara, they red baited Jimmylisa Badayos, and they have beaten and tortured Rolly M. Panesa.”
“This is a brazen sham and a slap in the face of justice,” continued Estanislao. “The AFP has no legal ground to even consider the private motion of Kapunan’s lawyer to the Rizal court. They have been ordered by a civilian judge to hand him over to civilian custody for the double-murder of two national democratic activists and they have refused to follow the rule of law. The AFP is coddling Kapunan because they sees him as one of their own. Kapunan is part of a long line of triggerhappy assassins of the AFP who use the Filipino people as target practice for merely trying to improve their country and for speaking up against injustice.”
SF CHRP is calling on the AFP to obey the rule of law and transfer Kapunan immediately to civilian custody so justice can begin to be met for the families of Alay-ay and Olalia. The AFP is constructing an atmosphere of impunity by continuing to coddle Kapunan in the way they are and by protecting him from the civilian judicial system. As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Aquino can easily end this whole charade and order Kapunan to be handed over. SF CHRP is daring President Aquino to take a stand against extrajudicial killings and the culture of impunity by ordering the AFP to hand over Kapunan to civilian authority. President Aquino, it is time to bring about the change you promised.