Rights group slams killing of 3rd witness to Ampatuan massacre

HUMAN rights group today scored the reported killing of Alijol Ampatuan, the third witness in the Ampatuan massacre case to have suffered the same fate, as “it bears the seal of impunity prevalent under the Arroyo up to the current Aquino administration.”

“Alijol Ampatuan’s killing is a testament to the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines, where victims, their kin, and witnesses are silenced through summary executions and where justice for rights violations remains a distant reality under the Aquino presidency, as it approaches the 2nd year of term,” according to human rights group Karapatan.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan spokesperson and End Impunity Alliance convenor,said “Aquino should answer for his administration’s unforgivable inaction to successfully prosecute, put behind bars and convict perpetrators of rights abuses under Arroyo, despite the persistence of the victims and their relatives to file cases. The government’s special treatment of notorious violators like former Pres. Arroyo and the Ampatuans and the non-arrest of Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan remain as obstacles to meting out justice.”

Reports on Alijol’s killing came three weeks after the killing of Esmael Amil Enog, another witness to the killing of 58 journalists, lawyers, and individuals in November 2009, known as the Ampatuan Massacre. Reports on the killing of Enog coincided with the UN review of the Philippines’ compliance to international human rights treaties and obligations.

Karapatan attributed the Aquino administration’s lackluster performance of seek the accountability of these perpetrators to the consistency of the pattern of killings and rights abuses being perpetuated by Aquino’s state security forces to that of Arroyo.

“Aquino mimics Arroyo’s repressive and violent scourge against civilians and activists through his counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. The implementation of the oplan has already resulted to 76 victims of extrajudicial killings and thousands of forcibly displaced peoples because of intense military operations and rights abuses in Mindanao, Samar, and Southern Tagalog, as well as in the rest of the provinces,” Palabay said.


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