Karapatan said rendering justice means prosecuting and punishing the guilty parties in these violations, indemnifying the victims; and declaring not to do similar transgressions again. The group called on the Aquino administration to scrap the Arroyo government’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya – which rights groups believe is the cause of the spike in political killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations – and desist from implementing a similar counter-insurgency campaign.
Lorena Santos, daughter of missing National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Leo Velasco, called on Aquino to use his power as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to order the surfacing of the disappeared. “Whether they are imprisoned or have been buried, we must see them,” Santos said as she fought back tears.
“We urge Aquino to open up military camps, safe houses and expedite the investigation of cases of enforced disappearances,” Santos, also deputy secretary general of Desaparecidos, said.
Desaparecidos also called on the Aquino administration to pass a law criminalizing enforced disappearances and ratify the United Nations’ International Convention for the Protection of All Persons Against Enforced Disappearances.
Roneo Clamor, husband of Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, one of the Morong 43, reiterated his call for the release of the 43 health workers and other political prisoners.
Clamor pointed out that even as the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) has been abolished last year, the filing of trumped-up charges against government critics continues.
Clamor also urged Aquino to issue the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to the Anti-Torture Act passed late last year. (Bulatlat.com)