Rights Lawyers Indict Aquino Administration for Impunity, Callousness &

Press Statement

10 December 2013

On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, rights lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
(NUPL) indict the B. S. Aquino administration not only for the
continuing impunity for various human rights violations but also for his
nonchalant attitude and disinterested callousness amidst injustice for
the victims.

The figures speak for themselves. Extrajudicial killings,
disappearances, torture, illegal arrests, violent demolitions and
dispersals, labelling, political persecution continue. With outstanding
hypocrisy, it kisses up to the example of Myanmar and joins the
multitude of deserved praises for the paragon of freedom fighters Nelson
Mandela yet keeps in jail hundreds of political prisoners, many on
trumped-up charges and a number of them more seriously ailing than his
former mentor Gloria Arroyo.

And what does this administration have to show for its human rights
record? A Marcos compensation law that is awaiting all its beneficiaries
to die first, a notorious fugitive general that is swaggering around for
years, promotions of generals facing credible and serious charges of
rights violations, legal fictions & tricks to bring trumped-up charges
against activists, lucrative bounty lists that prey on the clueless, a
plethora of task-force-this and task-force -that which have yet to
deliver, a rights commission that is deafeningly silent if not
conspicuously absent when needed most, a sprinkling of pro-human rights
legislation that remain useless on the ground, legal remedies that are
corrupted by those who should be liable, repressive laws and
jurisprudence some dating back to the dictatorship, lack of priority to
concretely expedite human rights complaints and give justice to the
victims -exacerbated by institutional weaknesses of a tedious,
cumbersome & widely-perceived corrupt and double-standard anti-poor
justice system that not only grinds slow but grinds those who persist to
seek redress-subservient arrangements for dubiously benevolent US troops
mocking our sovereignty, a deceptive counterinsurgency program that
wreaks havoc to civilians, the criminally inept and grossly negligent if
not shameless partisan handling of killer disasters, ad nauseum.

On top of these, it has stuck to its guns in justifying the corrupt and
patronage politics of the pork barrel system and looked the other way
when legal machinations are employed in so-called land reform programs
and in institutionalized labor contractualization. The basic social
needs of education, housing and health continue to be compromised for
greedy privatization and unbridled liberalization.

Despite its inimitable claim of being a signatory to most of the major
international human rights instruments and even a drafter of the UDHR,
this government has nothing to be proud of today when it comes to human
rights. Nothing at all.

But in the end, for as long as the social, economic and political
conditions that breed human rights violations exist, the long arduous
struggle for justice will be taken up by the victims, the persecuted and
by the human rights defenders who will never tire striving to make a
difference in the people’s lives. For ultimately, as history has time
and again proven, victory will be theirs. If not today, then in the
international human rights day of their own time. #

Reference: Edre U. Olalia – NUPL Secretary General -+639175113373

National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon
City, Philippines
Telefax no.920-6660
Email addresses: nupl2007@gmail.com and nuplphilippines@yahoo.com

Follow us on twitter @nuplphilippines and facebook
Visit the NUPL website at http://www.nupl.net/

“By calling yourselves the ‘people’s lawyer,’ you have made a remarkable
choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights
are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for
the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on
the battlefield live beyond irrelevance.”

– Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message at the
NUPL Founding Congress, September 15, 2007

“After long years of experience as a people’s lawyer, I can honestly say
it has been a treasured journey of self-fulfillment and rewarding
achievement. I know it will be the same for all others who choose to
tread this path.”
– Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, NUPL founding chairperson, in his keynote
address at the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in Asia Pacific ( COLAP V),
September 18, 2010