Scandalous Impunity

Extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances continue; the government’s national security policy that does not distinguish between legal and illegal, armed and unarmed opposition is still being implemented; and the AFP is continuing with its practice of preparing “orders of battle” or lists of targets for “neutralization,” which includes just about anybody who expresses critical views on the Arroyo government, including activists, church people, journalists, among others.

The Arroyo government is so desperate and yet so arrogant that it thinks it could get away with murder, literally and figuratively.

It thinks it could escape from being made to account for the numerous extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and other human-rights violations it committed; it thinks that it could get away with big-time corruption and bribery; and it feels that it could prolong its hold to power through charter change regardless of the negative public opinion.

The climate of impunity has so permeated every institution of government to the extent that the chief justice of the Supreme Court Reynato Puno could no longer stomach it and has felt the imperative to call for a moral revolution. The call for a moral revolution is, in effect, an indictment of the climate of impunity prevailing in the country.

Under the Arroyo government, human-rights defenders, witnesses, and relatives of victims of human rights violations become targets of attacks by the perpetrators; people exposing corruption cases are the ones being arrested and charged in court; and those blocking the efforts of the Arroyo government to prolong itself in power are swept aside through the tyranny of numbers.

The chief justice is right in concluding that nothing short of a moral revolution could save the country from the depths of degradation that the Arroyo government has brought upon us. But a moral revolution would have to surmount a formidable obstacle: impunity. And only the triumph of justice could put an end to the impunity.

This justice would not come from the government, as even the noble attempts of the honorable chief justice to dispense justice has been blocked, time and again, by the vote of the majority in the Supreme Court, who are beholden to the Arroyo government. The triumph of justice would result from the struggles of the Filipino people. (

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