Rights group to Quezon solon: “Don’t be Aquino’s lackey”

STA ROSA CITY – Human rights group Karapatan in Southern Tagalog, who are in their 3rd day of Lakbayan (People’s March) today, reminded Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada to “be more careful with his words and actions” in assessing the human rights situation in the country and stressed the necessity to criticize the policies of his ally, Noynoy Aquino.

Tañada in a forum organized by the European Union and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) said that human rights in the country is “good on paper, not so much in real life.”

Glen Malabanan, secretary general of Karapatan-ST acknowledges Tañada’s effort in exposing human rights situation. However, Malabanan said that Tañada is “still speaking in vague terms” and his statement that the situation has improved under the Aquino administration is a “downright fallacy”.

 

“He should check his parameters, there is no going from bad to good in terms of human rights when citizens are still being slaughtered, abducted and illegally detained by state forces,” Malabanan cited her group’s documentation in the Southern Tagalog region alone of 20 cases of extrajudicial killings, 3 enforced disappearances, 43 illegal arrests and 33 illegal detentions.

“Tañada should not look elsewhere and go check his own backyard,” Malabanan said referring to the rampant human rights abuses currently happening in Quezon province. According to Karapatan, out of the more than 200 documented cases, forty of them are women and 26 are children or minors while cases of threats and harassment already numbered about 2,000. The use and encampment of security forces in homes and public places already affected at least 3,000 residents.

Malabanan cited a particular case of Alex de Mesa who came from Villa Nacaob, a barrio in Lopez and part of Tañada’s congressional district. De Mesa was threatened and hacked with a bolo by elements of 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Eventually, De Mesa and his family left their home last September and joined other evacuees in the National Capital Region.

“Now what is the basis of Tañada’s statement when he himself has no concrete actions to resolve military abuses in his own district?” Malabanan asked.

“We challenged Tañada to stop being Aquino’s lackey. Being an administration ally doesn’t mean he should praise even the obvious wrongdoings,” Malabanan said. He added that if the congressman is truly representing the plight of the Quezonians, he must put an end to the militarization in the countryside.

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