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.
After denying that extrajudicial killings were a direct consequence of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan President Noynoy Aquino berated progressive and militant congressman Teddy Casiño calling on him to “help” in the ever worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.
Joyce Pangco Panares quoted Aquino in the Manila Standard Today:
“They should file cases and help us gather evidence. There will be no changes in the country if they just keep on talking. Can they just accuse someone and immediately proclaim that person’s guilt? We have a process that we have to follow,” the President said in an interview in Sydney.
“They should cooperate with us. If they just keep on talking without helping us resolve these crimes, what does this show of them? And then they accuse me of being a lapdog of America, but really, actions speak louder than words,” Mr. Aquino said.
The human rights advocacy group, Karapatan, stated in a recent press release:
Karapatan today derided Pres. Aquino’s statement that extrajudicial killings is not his government’s policy, as he called on senatorial candidate, Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, to help in solving the killings by looking for evidences and filing cases.
“The problem with the Aquino government is when it can no longer justify the existence of human rights violations and when its pro-human rights posturing is exposed as a sham, it turns the table around and puts the burden of proof on the victims and those who advocate and defend human rights. Ano naman ang silbi ng ganitong gobyerno? ” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
“Mr. President, you should think before you speak, because the responsibility of exacting justice is in your hands. In the first place, the burden of solving the cases of extrajudicial killings and serving justice to the victims is with the Aquino government, especially because majority, if not all of the killings, involve the armed and paramilitary forces headed by Aquino. But since he failed to even lift a finger to solve these cases, the relatives of human rights victims and Karapatan have taken it upon ourselves to initiate the filing of cases in Court,” she added.
Karapatan said that there are several cases long pending in court, among them are the killings of Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under Aquino; the case of botanist Leonard Co, Italian Priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio, the Dutch volunteer Willem Geertman and Dr. Gerry Ortega. “These high-profile cases remain unsolved and none of the perpetrators are put to jail yet. One could just imagine how it is for the families of the more than 100 lesser-known victims of extrajudicial killings under Aquino,” added Palabay.
Karapatan said that “Aquino is responsible for these killings because of his administration’s Oplan Bayanihan, and accountable at the very least, for not exercising due diligence in rendering justice for the victims.”
Palabay also stressed that Aquino could not brush off these killings as isolated cases, and not as part of his government’s policy. “We would like to remind the President that his counterinsurgency program, the Oplan Bayanihan has been terrorizing people, especially in the countryside, and has already resulted to a continuously increasing number of human rights violations, aside from extrajudicial killings. How can the killings not be part of his government’s policy? ”