Government Should Look Beyond the Plea Bargain — Karapatan (PR)

Press Statement
02 February 2011

KARAPATAN lauds Heidi Mendoza. She not only upheld government accountability as a public auditor. She dared face the powerful military institution to unravel a can of worms of plunder and corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – at the risk of her own and her family’s security.

Before the AFP pursue its new Internal Peace and Security Plan, euphemistically labeled “Oplan Bayanihan”, with its “whole-of-nation” “people-centric” approach patterned after a US Counterinsurgency Guide, it is best to start with a real Filipino named Heidi Mendoza. The whole of our nation is with her, the people are with her.

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We know for a fact, from documents gathered from the past up to the present, that the AFP is capable of so much more than cheat, lie and steal. It is well documented that state security forces can and do inflict grave human rights violations – against the very people whom they are supposed to defend.

Now the hearings played before us reveal more facts to the long held notion among the public that not only are state security forces rights violators but thieves as well; exacerbating the violations they commit against us.

We thank Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for providing protection and her support to witnesses. While cases are in courts, it is really the people’s vigilance which shall see justice to the end.

It’s time for the Pnoy administration to heed the whistle blowers. The thick and high walls of corruption and rights violations within the AFP must fall with the trumpet blares of Jericho.

The congressional inquiry on the plea bargaining agreement made by the government’s Ombudsman and state prosecutors with former military comptroller, Gen. Carlos Garcia, shows that the AFP has not only plundered public funds but pilfered funds from the United Nations as well. Corruption so brazen as this violate our rights to the very core of the values we hold dear as human beings and as a nation.

Perpetrators and co-conspirators must be punished. It is a duty not only for the country but also for humankind.

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