Army official implicated in Maguindanao massacre promoted to star-rank
“As military generals, those who murder and torture, get promoted and plunderers of the nation’s coffers receive special treatment in jail, the Aquino government is on full blast promoting impunity. Impunity is fostered by counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, the symbol of killings, torture and other human rights violations.”
This was Karapatan’s reaction to the promotion of Philippine Army Colonel Medardo Geslani to brigadier general. Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said Geslani is among those implicated in the massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists and two human rights lawyers, in Maguindanao nearly five years ago.
Palabay said the Aquino administration has been promoting military generals who were involved and accused of masterminding the many cases of torture, killings, and enforced disappearances.
She cited the appointment and promotion of Gen. Eduardo Año, who was charged with the abduction of activist Jonas Burgos; generals Aurelio Baladad and Jorge Segovia, who were charged with civil and criminal cases for the torture and illegal detention of the health workers known as the Morong 43; and, Gen. Ricardo Visaya, the ground commander during the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre where 13 striking farmworkers were killed.
Palabay said, “This policy and practice of promoting known human rights violators from the military indicate the Aquino administration’s disregard of the recommendations of Prof. Philip Alston, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings in his 2008 report to the UNHRC. The BS Aquino government also ignored the views and recommendations of several governments during the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines in 2008 and 2012.”
Karapatan asserts that not one military high official involved in rights abuses was prosecuted and convicted under Aquino’s term. “Aquino is following the footsteps of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in shamelessly supporting and giving accolades to these monsters!” she added.
Palabay headed the delegation of an ecumenical group of human rights advocates at the 26th United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, Switzerland this June 2014.
Palabay also met with various human rights organizations, individual advocates and foreign government institutions in Switzerland, Germany and Austria to inform them on the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines. Dr. Chaloka Beyani, UN special rapporteur on internally displaced persons, is set to visit the Philippines this year. ###
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
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.