Latest Stories

International rights group tells Aquino: Let actions do the talking


Journalist Ernan Baldomero seeks justice for his father, Fernando 'Nanding' Baldomero. On July 5, 2010, a gunman shot and killed Baldomero outside his home in Kalibo, Aklan province, as he was about to drive his 12-year-old son to school. Photo by Human Rights Watch

MANILA, Philippines—An international human rights watchdog called on US President Barack Obama to raise the issue of impunity with President Benigno Aquino III when they meet at the White House Friday.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday that security forces in the Philippines “have been implicated in hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances” since 2001.

“Victims have included leftist activists, journalists, alleged insurgents, environmentalists, and clergy,” the group said in a statement. “Killings have dropped significantly since President Aquino took office in 2010, but new cases have been reported and few of those responsible have been held accountable.”

“Obama needs to speak frankly with Aquino about addressing Philippine security forces’ abusive record,” HRW Asia advocacy director John Sifton said.

“Accountability for abuses is not only a matter of justice for victims, but vital for the Philippines’ future as a rights-respecting democracy,” he said.

Paramilitary forces that are under the supervision of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the local government “have in past years been implicated in unlawful killings of civil society activists and alleged insurgents,” HRW said.

Aquino had made a campaign promise back in 2010  that he would revoke an executive order allowing “private armies” to be created, but he has not fulfilled that promise and even stated about using them to protect private corporations, such as mining companies.

Sifton said that “ending abuses entails real changes. Accountability in the long term means ensuring that security forces are professional, subject to regular command, and disciplined under the rule of law.”

“In the last decade, only seven cases of extrajudicial killings, involving 11 defendants, have been successfully prosecuted – none since Aquino took power and none involving active duty military personnel,” HRW said.

“Rather than arguing, making promises, and offering excuses, President Aquino should focus on ending and prosecuting extrajudicial executions,” Sifton said. “He should let actions do the talking.”

The Philippines recently took part in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review last May 29 in Geneva, Switzerland where Washington pressed Manila to “end impunity for extrajudicial killings and to take control over paramilitary forces under military command, which have a long history of abuses,” HRW said.

The review was last conducted under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2008 when the US withheld $2 to $3 million annual assistance unless the Philippines would take “effective steps to prosecute those responsible for extra-judicial executions [EJEs], sustain the decline in the number of EJEs, and strengthen government institutions working to eliminate EJEs.”

The US State Department has refused to release the funds up to now despite a request made by the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs in May.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Human Rights , Human Rights Watch , Military , Philippines

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • S. Korea ferry rescue stalls as anger spreads
  • Sub dives deeper in hunt for missing MH370
  • US urges Myanmar to ease tensions
  • Little known jihadist group vows new Egypt attacks
  • Chelsea Clinton pregnancy
  • Sports

  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Vietnam pulls out of hosting Asian Games due to lack of funds
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Business

  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • US stocks end mostly higher after earnings deluge
  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace