Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PNoy, CHR hit on Human Rights Day

By Dino Balabo
MALOLOS CITY—A lawyers’ group accused the Aquino administration and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for condoning more violations as they observed the International Human Rights Day on Monday.

The number of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearance, torture, illegal arrest along with political, civil economic, social and cultural violations has increased halfway into the current administration, the group said.

“President Aquino completely missed the point with half-hearted and ill-advised approach to human rights,” said Lawyer Edre Olalia, spokesperson of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

Olalia was interviewed after the hearing of the kidnapping case against retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan.

As a lawyer for human rights victims, he said that the current administration has laid down an environment that emboldens perpetrators, and allowed them to get away.

“The non-arrest of Gen. Palparan is a chilling reminder that government security forces are still stolidly untouchable,” he said noting that it is capped by the promotion to higher positions of military officers accused of grave human rights violations.

Among the military officers he mentioned are Generals Eduardo Ano, Aurelio Baladad and George Segovia.

Olalia said that promotions of said officers belie any pretense at accountability.

With regards to the CHR, Olalia said that the creation of an inter-agency task force through Administrative Order No 35, is a public acknowledgement that the commission is inutile.

“The President has cleverly transformed the CHR into practically no more than a defender of his administration and whitewasher of even the most abominable violations in plain view,” he said.

Olalia added, “This is a time when victims and their families are clamoring for effective investigation and proactive, speedy and dogged prosecution, things which the President has by and large yet to deliver.”

“Obviously, there is nothing to celebrate on the International Human Rights Day, not while the administration continues to show appalling lack of will, foresight, ability and sensitivity in addressing persistent Philippine human rights concerns amid cries for justice of the victims and their families,” Olalia said.