July 27, 2012 – “And so this is justice under Aquino — torturers are given plum positions in the military, and the rich, powerful and notorious human rights violators like Palparan and Arroyo are mockingly free as preying vultures. No wonder, Noynoy deliberately omitted anything on human rights and peace in his SONA, a tacit and dangerous signal for state security forces to continue to prowl, with terror and violence against the people.”
Thus said Karapatan spokesperson Cristina Palabay, after news came out on the court resolution granting bail for former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the designation of Morong 43 torturer Col. Aurelio Baladad as acting commanding officer of the 9th Infantry Division of the Phil. Army, shortly after Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). In his SONA, Aquino heralded the state of “justice” under his administration.
Karapatan supported the Morong 43 health workers who filed criminal and civil charges against Arroyo and Baladad, and the mothers of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno who also filed criminal cases against Palparan resulting to the issuance of an arrest warrant. The group also filed an opposition to the appointments of Gen. Jorge Segovia and Baladad at the Commission on Appointments based on the pending complaints against them.
“It is reprehensible that a former President and military generals, whose notoriety on human rights violations has been condemned by the Filipino and the international community, are now both walking free from accountability. The crooked path of impunity lies under Aquino,” Palabay added.
The group also scored the series of moves to cover up the liabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in the extrajudicial killing of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio and Dutch development worker Willem Geertman. Prior to Aquino’s SONA, the PNP investigators have stated robbery as the main motive behind the killing of Geertman, while paramilitary elements were excluded by the Dept. of Justice from the list of suspects in the killing of Tentorio.
“These are among the cases of extrajudicial killings that all remain unsolved under Aquino. Again, it begs the question: what kind of justice is Aquino harping on in his SONA? Clearly, it is the kind of justice that bears upon the poor and those working for meaningful changes in society, while promoting ‘justice’ for the moneyed and powerful,” Palabay concluded. ###
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.