Aquino, AFP ‘denial kings’ on the existence of OB lists

HUMAN rights group Karapatan poured scorn over statements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denying the existence of an order of battle list, amid the enactment of the Anti-Enforced Disappearances Law which declares such lists of the military unlawful.

“It seems that acts of denial are usual responses of the Aquino government and the AFP, when confronted with questions on their accountability for human rights violations. Mga denial kings ang mga nasa Malacanang at AFP! The lies that they have sown through their counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan are now being exposed,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.

Karapatan puts into questions the practice of the Aquino government in continuing such policy through the reported Joint Order 14-2012 of the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government, which contains an alleged list of leaders of the communist movement whose bounties for arrests amount to P466million.

“Such order, which was not even made public, is a dangerous and malicious perpetuation of the OB list as it becomes a hitlist of personalities/individuals who may be persecuted, filed with trumped-up charges or killed,” commented Palabay.

Palabay cited the case of Rolly Panesa, a security guard who was illegally arrested, tortured and currently detained who is being accused of the military as a certain Benjamin Mendoza, alleged to be a top-ranking Communist Party of the Philippines leader with a bounty of P5.6million for his arrest. Panesa was arrested in October 2012 based on this theory of the AFP, based on trumped up charges.

Karapatan cited another example of similar lists that exist such as the target list of the 86th Infantry Battalion and 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army which bears the names of 28 individuals as targets of military operations in Tinooc, Ifugao. The list includes the names of Jude Baggo, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance(CHRA)-Karapatan secretary general, and farmers who are vocal against militarization of the communities in the Cordilleras. (attached is the urgent action alert of CHRA on the case as well as the copy of the list)

“The Aquino government should stop its hypocrisy – its perpetuation of human rights violations on the ground while making it appear that it is being compliant human rights standards by enacting laws and establishing human rights offices. The human rights situation on the ground bears witness to the fact that despite the laws against torture and disappearances, the government continues its conduct of human rights violations and political repression through Oplan Bayanihan and human rights violators in the military and police are left free from arrests and are even promoted to higher ranks,” Palabay said.

Karapatan attributed the enactment of the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law mainly on the “painstaking, persevering, militant and unwavering efforts for justice of the relatives of the desaparecidos, human rights groups and lawyers, and people’s organizations.” The group has documented 12 victims of enforced disappearances under Aquino’s watch.

“With the law, we challenge the Aquino government to file charges against all perpetrators of enforced disappearances, from General Palparan to General Eduardo Ano, to hold them accountable for the disappearances of Karen Empeno, Sherlyn Cadapan, Jonas Burgos and many others. We likewise put to task Pres. Noynoy Aquino to end enforced disappearances and all human rights violations by scrapping Oplan Bayanihan, for even as the law is enacted, the policy and practice of this form of violation remains an instrument of political repression under the said counter-insurgency program,” Palabay said.

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