Group hits Aquino’s deafening but pregnant silence on violence vs women

AS women all over the world commemorate today the International Day to End Violence Against Women, women’s rights group Tanggol Bayi criticized the “deafening but pregnant silence” of Pres. Benigno Aquino on the killings and other rights violations against women human rights defenders.

Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Tanggol Bayi and secretary general of Karapatan, cited Aquino’s silence on the massacre of pregnant Juvy Capion, an indigenous people’s leader and anti-mining activist, and her two children in Tampakan, South Cotabato, which is an issue raised by several local and international groups.

She likened Aquino’s reaction to that of his stance on the Ampatuan massacre yesterday, when “Aquino literally ignored various calls by local and international journalist organizations for him to employ real commitment and the most expeditious means to serve justice for the Ampatuan massacre victims.”

According to Karapatan, out of the 114 victims of extrajudicial killings under Aquino (July 2010 to September 30, 2012 data), 15 are women and girl-children, with the Capion massacre as the latest in the string of killings. Karapatan also documented the cases of Marilou Valle, an urban poor leader in Tondo who was killed by barangay tanods in collusion with the police; Rodilyn Aguirre, an eight-year old Tumandok, who was killed with a mortar from a nearby military detachment; and that of Asmayrah Usman and Gailly Miraato, Moro girl-children who were killed due to military operations in Mindanao.

“The Aquino government, with empty macho braggadocio, claims it has more than enough laws to protect and promote women’s rights and it has signed all the international instruments regarding women. These laws and treaties are nothing but mere papers if the government does not give an ounce of recognition of the rights violations of its state security forces against women and it fails to give them justice,” Palabay asserted.

Tanggol Bayi also scored the Aquino government on its “lackadaisical” stance in arresting ex-Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan for the abduction, rape and disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, after nearly a year since the warrant of arrest was issued based on the charges filed by the mother of the two women.

“How lame can you get, Mr. President? The mothers, their lawyers, the witnesses, and human rights organizations have already done their part already in filing these charges, while you have yet to exercise your responsibility in arresting Palparan,” Palabaysaid.

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