Alston said that the AFP’s Human Rights Office has yet to successfully investigate accusations of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by members of the military.
The special rapporteur also criticized the Ombudsman, “No progress appears to have been made with respect to improving the office of the Ombudsman’s ability to effectively fulfill its independent constitutional role in responding to extrajudicial killings plausibly attributed to public officials.”
Palparan, for one, faces pending cases before the Ombudsan.
While Alston credited the Supreme Court for issuing the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data, Alston deemed that the Writ of Amparo appears to remain underutilized, and even misunderstood in some courts.
The two writs are a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.
Alston said the High Court should further develop the effectiveness of these measures.
Fabricated charges vs activists
Alston observed that the filing trumped up charges against Filipino activists and human rights abuse victims continues.
He said that the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) continues to label members of civil society organizations as suspected members of the CPP/NPA/NDF.
“The central purpose of IALAG remains to prosecute and punish members of the CPP and its purported front groups as enemies of the State, many of whom will not be reachable by legal processes. The temptation to execute such individuals thus remains,” Alston said.
In his April report, Alston recommended the abolition of the IALAG. He said then that ‘the criminal justice system should refocus on investigating and prosecuting those committing extrajudicial executions and other serious crimes.’
Stop military aid
In light of the recent Alston report, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) called on foreign governments to stop providing all forms of aid, especially military aid, to the Arroyo government.
Renato Reyes Jr., Bayan secretary-general, said, “Foreign aid at this point only helps the Arroyo regime carry out its policies of repression. Blood will be on the hands of the foreign donors themselves.”
The Philippine government receives some $30 million annually in foreign military financing from the US government. The amount, Reyes said, is believed to be used for the government’s counter-insurgency program, which has been blamed for the rise in human-rights abuses. In the past, the US Congress made additional military aid contingent on the Philippine government’s compliance with Alston’s recommendations.
“The international community must also act to condemn the Arroyo government,” Reyes said. (Bulatlat.com)