November 23: International Day to End Impunity
“The BS Aquino regime knows nothing about justice, and everything about injustice,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said on the 4thyear commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre where 58 individuals, 32 of them media persons, were massacred by the paramilitary groups of Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. “Four years after one of the most heinous crime in Philippine history was committed, the Ampatuans are still not convicted,” Palabay said.
Human rights groups such as Karapatan, peace advocates, press freedom advocates and progressive multimedia groups staged a protest action at Mendiola today to demand the BS Aquino administration to immediately act on the Ampatuan Massacre case and to call for an end to media killings and other human rights violations.
Palabay also criticized the statement of Presidential Communications Operations Office Sonny Coloma that “there is no more culture of impunity” in the country,” saying that “the sheer failure of accountability mechanisms under the Aquino administration is attested to by the continuing rights violations; that no high official especially among state security forces has been jailed and convicted for their heinous crimes; and that BS Aquino continues his blame games instead of owning up to his administration’s liability.”
“The slow pace by which the government handles even a high profile criminal case like the Ampatuan massacre is typically Aquino’s,” Palabay said. “The government’s inaction in the case of the Ampatuan massacre and other human rights violations is similar to his inaction and ineptitude in handling the disaster situation in areas hit by typhoon Yolanda—where people’s lives are put on the line.”
“Due to the slow process of the prosecution, witnesses to the massacre became vulnerable such that they end up being killed,” Palabay said. Alijol Ampatuan, one of the suspects of the massacre, was shot in February 2012 in Shariff Aguak. Alijol was supposed to turn state-witness. “The killing did not stop after the massacre. The killing continues to save those who were charged,” Palabay added.
“In the case of the people in the affected areas of typhoon Yolanda, the deaths did not stop after the storm surge; deaths continue even when the sun has come out and the floodwater has dried up. Survivors remain hungry,c old and sick. Many of those who survived are slowly dying for lack of medical attention, food and water,” Palabay said.
“So, we ask: where is the government in all of these? He is all over the mass media, making up excuses for his and his government’s negligence; blaming the victims. There is impunity and injustice because perpetrators are not punished, because human rights violations continue to be committed. There is injustice because the BS Aquino government is inept and negligent of the needs of its people. And BS Aquino should answer for this,” said Palabay.
“Parami na nang parami ang kasalanan ng gobyernong ito sa taumbayan: ang maraming kaso ng kawalang hustisya, kainutilan at pagpapabaya nito sa mamamayan. Ito na ang panahon para singilin at papanagutin si BS Aquino sa mga krimeng ito,” [This government’s crimes against the people are increasing by the day – cases of injustice, uselessness and negligence keep piling up. It is about the time that BS Aquino be held accountable for these crimes”], Palabay ended.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Floor Erythrina Building,
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District Diliman, Quezon City,
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.