Extrajudicial killings on the rise
The National Council of Karapatan, in a recently concluded meeting, called on BS Aquino to “shape up or ship out” as the human rights alliance condemned the rising incidents of extrajudicial killings, now with 11 people killed in the first ten weeks of 2014.
“If the Aquino government cannot control and stop its killing spree, BS Aquino, the commander in-chief of the armed forces, has no business staying in Malacañang,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
The members of the National Council of Karapatan, representing 16 regional chapters and people’s organizations gathered at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to air the call to stop the killings and for the government to find and punish the perpetrators of these killings and other human rights violations. The group also called for the junking of Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s version of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.
The latest victim of extrajudicial killing is Romeo Capalla who was shot on March 15 in Oton, Iloilo province; and father and sons, Licuben, Eddie and Freddie Ligiw in Baay-Licuan, Abra province. The three were missing for a few days and found buried in a shallow grave on March 8.
“Just two weeks ago we were here at the DOJ to sound the alarm bell and protest the seven reported incidents of killing in the first six weeks of 2014. In a matter of two weeks, four more incidents of extrajudicial killings happened,” Palabay said. “Naghahabol ng ba ng quota ang ang gobyernong ito?” Palabay asked.
The protesters again laid down “corpses” in front of the DOJ like they did two weeks ago; this time with 11 “dead bodies”. “The BS Aquino government stinks—with corpses of victims of rights violations and those who were victims of his criminal negligence during disasters. Families of victims cry out for justice but the Aquino regime knows nothing about justice,” Palabay said.
Karapatan said the Aquino government has no intentions to render justice. It noted that as cases of human rights violations mount up, justice has not been served to Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino regime. Baldomero was killed five days after Aquino assumed presidency. Since then, Karapatan has documented 169 victims of extra-judicial killing (as of December 2013).
Baldomero was detained on false charges of arson in 2005, under the Arroyo regime. “Who would have known that Baldomero’s co-accused, Romeo Capalla would become the 180th documented victim of extrajudicial killing. BS Aquino finished off what Arroyo started during the OBL,” Palabay said.
Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya are both local versions of the US Counter Insurgency program. “With the imminent signing of a new framework agreement between Aquino and Obama—the basing of US troops in the Philippines and a direct hand in the local counterinsurgency operations of the Philippines armed forces –the Philippines will become a killing field,” Palabay warned.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
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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.