Karapatan to Aquino: Yes, your human rights record ‘speaks for itself’

MR. President, your human rights record indeed speaks for itself with 114 victims of extrajudicial killing (EJK), 127 victims of frustrated EJK, 70 persons tortured, 12 disappeared, and scores of other rights violations under your administration. These violations, plus the fact that your security forces are a miserable failure in arresting the Butcher Gen. Palparan, speak volumes on your administration’s culpability in promoting impunity and rights violations.”

Thus, said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, on Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s statement before the New Zealand media. Palabay likewise scoffed at Aquino’s apparent emphasis on the so-called abuses committed against state agents saying that ‘they were pelted with human waste’ in the course of their work, “ as “a diversionary tactic that failed to answer the nagging questions on his administration’s commitment to human rights.”

Palabay said the President deliberately did not mention the recent massacre of the Juvy Capion, a pregnant B’laan woman who was killed along with her two children when the military strafed their hut on October 18. Juvy was a member of Kalgad, an organization of the B’laan tribe that is opposed to the entry of Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines, Inc (SMI) as there are about 30,000 B’laan who will be displaced from their ancestral lands with the entry and operation of Xstrata-SMI.

SMI is touted to be the biggest mining investor in the Philippines with U$5.9 billion investment largely in Tampakan, South Cotabato. The SMI is owned by the Australia-based Xstrata Copper, believed to be the fourth largest global copper producer. Aquino is due to visit Australia Wednesday, after his New Zealand trip.

“He also purposely did not mention that on October 5, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have mistakenly arrested, tortured and detained the 48-year old Rolly Panesa, a security guard whom they claim as the 61-year old “Benjamin Mendoza,” the so-called secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Southern Luzon. The President is no longer just an expert only in media spins but has already mastered the art of lying,” said Palabay.

Karapatan also said that Aquino’s statement shows his callousness towards the appeals for justice of the families and relatives of the victims.

“To brag about one’s dismal human rights record before the international community smacks of utter insensitivity to the victims and their kin’s plight,” Palabay said.


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