False claims on UN-SR exit statement typical of Philippine military —Karapatan

publicinfo: Aug 14 10:13AM +0800

Press Statement
August 14, 2015

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

False claims on UN-SR exit statement typical of Philippine military —Karapatan

“How the Armed Forces twisted the words of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons is nothing new. It has been the “logic” of fascist minds to justify their attacks
against the people,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

She said, “The AFP, like its commander-in-chief BS Aquino, twists truths and comes out with lies to cover up human rights violations, employing underhanded tactics such as red tagging and filing of false criminal
charges against leaders of progressive organizations through the use of ‘professional witnesses’ and ‘planting of evidence’ or sowing intrigues and pitting the people against each other.”

Karapatan said that Pres. Aquino and AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri should also answer for “spouting and promoting these lies before the international community.”

“It is no surprise that the Philippine government has distorted Dr. Beyani’s statements, just as it has rejected repeated requests for official visits and investigations of other UN experts such as that of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and on the rights of human rights defenders, to deliberately hide or mangle the truth on the real state of human rights in the Philippines. Several diplomatic demarches have also been ignored by the Aquino administration,” Palabay added.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of internally displaced persons Chaloka Beyani criticized the AFP for “distorting” his statement on the situation of Lumad who evacuated from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon, and sought temporary shelter and safety at the compound of the United Church of
Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City.

The AFP however, stands by its earlier declaration that the Lumad evacuees were victims of ‘human trafficking’ and that they were ‘manipulated’, “desperately attributing the same statement to the Dr. Beyani,” added Palabay.

“The same pigheadedness of the AFP towards the Beyani’s exit report is manifested in the BS Aquino regime’s non-compliance to the recommendations of Prof. Philip Alston, SR on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions who investigated rights violations the country in 2006,” she said.

Among the recommendations of Alston in his 2007 report to the UN Human Rights Council were for the government to stop counter-insurgency programs that result to rights violations against the civilian population; take concrete measures to end extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture; the abolition of the IALAG (Inter-Agency Legal Action Group of Gloria Arroyo) which was instrumental in filing criminal charges against activists; and an end to the practice of red tagging and linking of legal organizations with “groups engaged in armed struggle.”

Karapatan maintains that “all these measures were disregarded both by the Arroyo and Aquino regimes.” There are 262 documented cases of extrajudicial killing and 293 frustrated killings under the five years of the Aquino regime, which Karapatan attributes to the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s counter-insurgency program which is no different from Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.

Palabay said that while the IALAG was abolished, the practice of falsely charging activists with trumped-up crimes still exists. There are now 537 political prisoners, majority of them face criminal charges in court.

“The circumstances of the evacuees at the UCCP in Davao City are replicated in many other communities, mostly in Mindanao,” said Palabay. As of June 2015, there are more than 60,000 documented victims of forced evacuation. ###

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Hustisya NEWS: “Cowardly act,” rights group say of Del Carmen 4 killing in Masbate

Hustisya: Aug 13 04:57PM -0700

News Release
14 August 2015

*“Cowardly act,” rights group say of Del Carmen 4 killings in Masbate

Cowardly and inhumanely cracked-minds act.

This is how Hustisya described the murder of four civilians by government troops in Del Carmen, Uson Masbate on August 3. The killing was a reprisal operations against civilians after an alleged encounter between forces of NPA and the 93rd IB, resulting to one soldier killed.

“It is heartbreaking to know the victims were ordinary civilians who were helping the wounded soldiers, at the same time sickening and deplorable that the 93rd IB of the Philippine Army justifies their murder by falsely accusing them as rebels,” Hustisya secretary general Cristina Guevarra said.

“The massacre can only be done with impunity by cracked-minds in the Philippine army desensitized by military mindset of red-tagging civilians as rebels or rebel supporters,” she added.

The murdered civilians were identified as Rogelio Abelio Mahinay 27; Adam Fajardo, 34; JobertBadilio, 23,;and Gary Vistar, 37. All were residents of the said barangay. Local human rights groups attested that they earn a livelihood by driving motorcycles, and were simply asked by their Brgy. Chair Sulpicio Mahinay to assist and bring the wounded soldiers to the hospital.

“This dastardly act adds to the already long list of AFP’s crimes against humanity under the Noynoy Aquino regime. It is a brazen violation of established rules of war enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and the signed Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) between the GPH and NDFP,”Guevarra added.

The residents of Brgy Del Carmen are indignant over the massacre claiming the four victims of massacre were actually unarmed civilians who were merely doing their rounds of livelihood when interrupted by the 93rd IB reprisal operation. Their killings were utterly unjustified according to them.

“We demand immediate and thorough investigation by civilian authorities and independent institutions on this heinous crime. The 93rd IB should be held accountable and immediately pull out from the place of the incident to ensure that the investigation will be thorough and secured. We demand that military abuses committed against the people be put to stop once and for all,” Guevarra said.

Hustisya stands that military abuses and atrocities against civilians is at the core of all counter-insurgency campaigns classified as collateral damage and acceptable risks under the Aquino’s OplanBayanihan. This puts the counter-insurgency and peace program dubious and anti-people. Its justification of targeting civilians is the main basis of unending reign of impunity against the people.

“It does not address nor resolve the root cause of armed conflict, it actually stokes and exacerbates it. That’s why it is all the more urgent to junk the abusive Oplan Bayanihan”, according to Guevarra.###

Reference: Cristina Guevarra, Hustisya secretary general, +63908-4383826


Hustisya National Office
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Central District, Diliman
Quezon City 1100 Philippines

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E-mail: hustisya.national@gmail.com