Justice is the Right Path to Peace : Aquino Must Give Justice to the Victims of State (PR)

Press Statement
6 December 2010

President Aquino, who was elected for his “matuwid na landas” campaign slogan, has the moral obligation to correct the wrongs and injustices committed by the past two administrations of Estrada and Arroyo against the Moro people.

Today, there are still more than 100,000 Moro evacuees in various evacuation centers in the ARMM. More than 100 poor and indigent Muslims who are victims of the Arroyo regime’s indiscriminate terrorist tagging are still languishing in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig and Basilan Provincial Jail. Some of these detainees are seriously ill and urgently needs medical attention as in the case of Muhamadiya Hamja, who suffered severe torture from the elements of CIDG and PNP who forcibly abducted him in the Blue Mosque grounds in Maharlika Village, Taguig on November 28, 2008.

But instead of correcting the wrongs of the past regimes, terrorist tagging, indiscriminate arrests and other human rights violations continue to victimize innocent Moro civilians.

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Patta Hoyo, a 21-year old tricycle driver and a resident of Salam Compound, Culiat, Tandang Sora, Quezon City, is the recent victim of terrorist tagging and warrantless arrest under the Aquino administration. He was forcibly arrested last November 3, 2010 in front of the Tierra Pura subdivision in Tandang Sora. On 22 September 2010, amidst the preparations for the resumption of the talks between the GRP and MILF, Engr. Edwin Guerra (passport name: Abdullah Yap Alonto), a member of the Central Committee of the MILF was arrested at the Davao International Airport en route to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council Meeting on 27 September 27, 2010. He was severely tortured and placed under “maximum security” detention facility in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.

Muhamadiya Hamja, Patta Hoyo and Edwin Guerra are among the almost 400 political detainees in the country today, including the 43 health workers (or Morong 43, who are currently in a hunger strike).

For as long as Aquino fails to give justice to the victims of the past Estrada and Arroyo regimes, they remain victims under his administration.

The fascist, corrupt and morally bankrupt Estrada regime was justly ousted by the people in 2001. But until now, not one of the victims of human rights violations was given justice, particularly the Moro people who suffered the most of his regime’s fascist rule.

The nine years of the Arroyo regime was all hell for the Moro people. The impact of Arroyo’s full support to the US’ global war on terror declaration after the 9-11 tragedy in New York in 2001 was heavily felt by the Moro people all over the country. The military’s massive hunt for and operations against local and international terrorists were highly biased against the Muslims. Hundreds of Moro civilians have become victims of terrorist tagging. Warrantless arrests, abductions, illegal detention and torture of anyone suspected as members of the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group, which the US government has designated as terrorist organization, were widespread. Intensified militarization of Moro communities has resulted in hundreds of thousands of victims of military abuses and violence.

Both the Estrada and Arroyo regimes were characterized by wreaking havoc on the lives of the Moro people. Their wars of aggression against the Moro resistance organizations such as the MILF and MNLF, in spite of the ongoing peace talks and agreements, involve large-scale crimes against humanity. The Estrada and Arroyo regimes’ all out war against the MILF resulted in the devastation of the lives and property of hundreds of thousands poor Moro people in Central Mindanao. In Maguindanao province alone, more than 18,000 Moro children were displaced and forced to stop schooling when armed fighting between the AFP and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces broke out after the failed signing of the MoA-AD in August 2008.

As President and Commander-in-Chief, Aquino has the power to give justice to the victims of state terrorism and human rights violations NOW. He has the power to end the culture of impunity NOW.

Justice is the right path to peace.

Reference: Antonio Liongson
Coordinator, Human Rights Program
Moro-Christian People’s Alliance (MCPA)

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