DAVAO – International delegates coming from several international solidarity missions in the Philippines today decry the Supreme Court’s dismissal of plunder charges filed against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the elation of the current presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza on the ruling.
Dureza, a former Cabinet and press secretary of the Arroyo administration, said he was elated by the high court’s ruling.
“This is a grave injustice to the Filipino people. Former Pres. Aquino filed weak cases against GMA in the first place. What is surprising is that current peace adviser Jesus Dureza is overjoyed about the injustice and virtually slurs the thousands of victims of rights violations under Arroyo,” spokesperson for the International Conference for People’s Rights in the Philippines (ICPRP), Rev. Rex R.B. Reyes, Jr., said.
Former Pres. Arroyo has been criticized by international groups not only for plunder but also for grave people’s rights violations during her nine-year rule with Oplan Bantay Laya I & II. She is accountable for the extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, illegal detention, torture, militarization and displacement of entire communities, and wholesale plunder of the country’s economy and resources.
“Is Dureza happy that her former boss can go away scot-free for crimes against the people? That is no way to pursue a just and lasting peace in the country as violations continue unabated. It’s a shame to the world,” Rev. Reyes added.
Over 200 people’s rights advocates from 25 countries are meeting in Davao City over the coming weekend for the ICPRP. They are supportive of the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to address the roots of the armed conflict in the country.
Rev. Reyes is a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and Chair of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (Ecumenical Voice), a co-convenor of the ICPRP.
Rev. Rex R.B. Reyes Jr.
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