By Pamilya ng Desaparecidos para sa Katarungan (DESAPARECIDOS)
Posted by Bulatlat
The group of families of desaparecidos today called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surface the victims of enforced disappearances, instead of fabricating stories of “mass graves” to harass genuine human rights defenders.
“From the Marcos Dictatorship, through the past regimes, it is the AFP which had gone unpunished for keeping secret detention cells and torture chambers where they had brought thousands of victims of abductions and illegal arrests. Instead of digging up actual cemeteries and disturbing the peace of the dead, the AFP should surface our loved ones whom they have disappeared,” said Ghay Portajada, spokesperson of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos).
Some 1,500 victims were disappeared during the Marcos Dictatorship and the succeeding Aquino regime. The first documented desaparecido was youth leader Charlie del Rosario, 27, who was abducted by military agents 36 years ago today (March 19, 1971) at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila. He remains missing.
The Desaparecidos at the same time condemned government’s harassment of Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo who was arrested and had been detained on multiple murder charges and the alleged “mass graves” in Leyte.
“Ka Satur had always been a staunch human rights defender, especially for us families of the disappeared. It was Bayan Muna, along with Anakpawis and Gabriela party-list groups which authored House Bill 1556 (later consolidated into HB 4959) defining and penalizing enforced disappearances,” said Portajada.
Portajada however said that the enactment of the anti-terror law called the Human Security Act contradicts the bill’s provision to stop disappearances, and would actually legalize disappearances.
“At the rate the government is harassing Ka Satur and other progressive groups and human rights defenders, we all have to stand up, be outraged and defend our rights or no one will be left standing under this fascist regime,” Portajada said.(Bulatlat.com)
Reference: GHAY PORTAJADA, spokesperson