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Palace: Human rights advocacy our policy

By |, Cynthia D. Balana

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Skewered every now and then over unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings, disappearances and torture, Malacañang on Monday stressed its commitment to human rights and released a list of initiatives in its campaign against human rights violations.

“Our policy is clear: We advocate human rights,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in response to the United States Embassy’s call for the government to step up the protection of the people’s rights.

“We frown on extrajudicial killings,”  Lacierda said, adding that the administration of President Aquino valued human rights since his family had been a victim of its violation during the regime of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Later in the day, Malacañang posted a list of its initiatives on human rights since the President took over in June 2010, including his recent creation of a “superbody” to look into cases of grave human rights violations.

The initiatives included the crafting of a Human Rights Desk Operations Manual for police personnel, and the setting up of an office for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to address all human rights and international humanitarian law issues involving military personnel.

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales also described the country’s human rights record as having “significantly improved under the administration of President Aquino, particularly in the areas of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture.”

Rosales said that since President Aquino took over the reins of government, there were only 96 complaints of human rights violations against the military and 235 against the police from July 2010 to July 2012.

Peasants march

The CHR led the country in celebrating International Human Rights Day on Monday through various activities meant to remind the people of the evils of martial law during the Marcos regime.

Also on Monday, thousands of peasants and indigenous peoples belonging to a militant group from Mindanao and Southern Tagalog, with multisectoral support from the National Capital Region, marched on Mendiola and condemned what they considered to be unabated human rights violations under the Aquino administration.

Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez led the marchers in burning a 7-foot effigy of a combined mining excavator and artillery tank, symbolizing the twin evils of large-scale mining and intensified military operations in peasant areas and indigenous people’s communities.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, pointed out that among the 129 victims of extrajudicial killings that they had documented, 69 were farmers and 25 were indigenous peoples. Most of those killed in Mindanao were antimining activists and lumad leaders who were defending their land and the environment against the intrusion of big foreign mining corporations, she said.

Last month, President Aquino issued Administrative Order No. 35 creating an inter-agency committee on extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations of the right to life and security of persons.

Chaired by the justice secretary, the committee will inventory all human rights violations perpetrated by state and non-state forces; prioritize unsolved cases and assign special investigation teams to establish the identities of the perpetrators; monitor and report cases under investigation, conduct preliminary investigation and trial, and investigate and prosecute new cases.


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  • cantonese

    HYPOCRISY, Please practicewhat you ar preaching. Ayyy ,Ka Indo.

  • w33k3nd3r

    So why are the Ampatuans still running free when it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to concur that they are the murderers.

  • EdgarEdgar

    For all Noynoy’s talk about human rights, he conveniently ignored the disappearance and possible death of Jonas Burgos. In fact, Noynoy even installed Eduardo Año, one of those implicated in Jonas Burgos’ disappearance, as the new spy chief of ISAFP. But then again, we can’t blame the president for installing one of his trusted men as the spy chief in aid of Noynoy and LP’s election chances in May 2013. Let’s also not forget Leonard Co the dead botanist whose case has been archived by DOJ because he’s not important. Let’s also not forget how DOJ’s Leila de Lima bungled the case against the Reyes brothers so much so that the Court of Appeals could not refrain from commenting on Leila de Lima’s sheer sloppiness. And if Noynoy really felt so strongly about human rights and his father’s death, he certainly showed none of it when he readily abandoned the search for Ninoy’s killers just to kiss and make up with Tito Danding. And if human rights were really that important to Noynoy, he and his clan would not have enslaved so many peasant farmers and deprived them of land for so long, 55 years and all and still counting.

  • kismaytami

    Policy??? Eh bakit sunud-sunod ang pagpatay sa mga journalist, anti-mining advocates at peasant workers advocates? Ni wala pa ngang napaparusahang human rights violator, napo-promote pa mismo! At yung mga known perpetrators eh malayang-malaya pa rin.

  • laguar

    Since when did “advocating human rights” and “frowning on extrajudicial killings” as a matter of “policy” ever accomplish anything without honest to goodness political will? 

  • Jaelsimone

    Reading some posts of Filipinos think that here nothing works. Do you have a lot of problems

  • Facile1

    I am truly sorry for the ‘plight of the human rights defenders.’

    BUT clearly, the President of the Philippines does NOT believe in the Philippine Bill of Rights nor in its defense. Otherwise, ‘executive-sanctioned use of paramilitary organizations’ would be ASSUMED to be unconstitutional in the first place.

    However, the President of the Philippines does believe in the basic human right of every Filipino to a “safe and satisfying sex life” and in the passage of the RH Bill.  That is, of course, “safe and satisfying sex life” for men and “satisfying sex life under medication” for women.

    And while it is true being DEAD does not exactly add to a satisfying sex life, “frowning upon extra-judicial killings” may be the best one can hope for from this government.

  • Your_King

    The Aquino Admin might claim they frown on extrajudicial killings but they don’t do anything about it. Who in their right mind isn’t for human rights? The only issue that Aquino has is he’s ignoring this very prevalent issue. There are all these killings and such but there is no justice for the victims. Many complaints but no convictions.

  • disqusted0fu

    since when did this become their advocacy?! there have been 132 victims of extra judicial killings, 467 illegal arrests, 72 tortured, and 12 enforced disappearances, all under Aquino administration. whats worse is that there have been 0 prosecution on these cases. so what advocacy is this administration talking about?



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