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    Australian human rights lawyer says culture of impunity reigns too under Aquino

    By Gerry Albert Corpuz, all voices.com

    MANILA, Philippines-(UPDATE)– An Australian human rights lawyer on Sunday noted the culture of impunity under Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III remains a major concern among human rights advocates in the Philippines and the entire international community.

    In a press conference, Prof. Gill Boehringer, an Australian human rights lawyer, criticized “the bloody human rights violations under the Aquino government,” citing that 48 activists were already killed under his watch and that 354 political prisoners are still in jail on trumped-up charges and denied of a general amnesty.

    Boehringer said that there is a prevailing culture of impunity even after the Supreme Court ordered the trial of Gen. Palparan on the Empeno-Cadapan disappearance case.

    Fresh from a resounding success of the fourth international assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), which was attended by more than 400 delegates from 40 countries, the ILPS, the international league of anti-imperialist activists approved a resolution demanding and end to culture of impunity, and pressed Aquino to hold accountable those who behind the gruesome killings of more than 1,000 Filipino activists during the reign of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

    The ILPS also took note of the failed diplomacy of President Aquino in handling the Spratlys issue. ILPS observer Prof. Fred Engst said that “it would be a mistake to escalate the conflict because it would be to the interest of the US” on the controversial Spratlys issue in the South China Sea.

    Engst, who was born and grew up in China, said that China might enter the club of developed countries soon as it builds on a strong party-state expansion of monopolistic industry, trade, finance and defense in direct challenge to the United States’ overstretched position of dominance in a multipolar world.

    He said that “the decline of US will not be peaceful, as the rise of China, or the reemerging of Russia will not be peaceful either.”

    Commenting on Aquino’s call for US support on the disputed Spratlys, Engst said that it “is not in China’s interest to give the US an excuse to get involved in this regional dispute.”

    The ILPS likewise urged President Aquino to release all Filipino political prisoners including JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee) protected peace consultants Alan Jazmines and Tirso Alcantara, and peasant leader-organizers Dario Tomada and Felicidad Caparal, both from Eastern Visayas.

    GerryAlbert is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is Anchor for Allvoices

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