“We believe that the vulnerable poor, marginalized and exploited sectors of society must be afforded every respect of their human rights—for these are the rights of the toiling majority.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – With their faces hidden by black veil, families of three victims of drug-related killings and one survivor of police operations filed complaints against the government for violating the human rights of their loved ones.
The families accompanied by Church people under the Rise Up for Life and for Rights, filed complaints with the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), Jan. 17.
Formed in June 2004, the JMC is tasked to monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). The CARHRIHL is the first substantive agreement signed by the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in March 1998.
One of the complainants, Anne (not her real name), told the media she wanted justice for her father. “Why kill drug suspects when they can be detained instead?” Anne said in Filipino.
Anne’s 47-year-old father, who worked in a slaughterhouse, was killed on December 2 inside their home in barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City. He left behind three children and a grandson.
Rise Up convener Fr. Ben Alforque said the war on drugs of the Duterte administration shows how the “state uses its agencies, machinery to kill its citizens.”
Data from the Philippine National Police showed that 2,170 have been killed in government’s anti-drug operations from July 1 last year until Jan. 2. More than 2,000 more were executed by vigilante groups.
Rise UP cited one of the CARHRIHL objectives “to guarantee the protection of human rights to all Filipinos under all circumstances especially the workers, peasants and other poor people.”
“We believe that the vulnerable poor, marginalized and exploited sectors of society must be afforded every respect of their human rights—for these are the rights of the toiling majority,” the group said.
Xyl Aguilar, legal assistant of the JMC-GRP, said they would forward the complaints to the GRP Human Rights Committee chairperson Efren Moncupa and other members of the GRP peace panel.
Rise Up urged both the GRP and the NDFP to include in the peace talks the issue of drug-related killings. The GRP and the NDFP are set to meet again for the third round of peace talks in Rome, Italy from January 19 to 25.
Copies of the complaints were also given to the JMC-NDFP.
Ruben Saluta, NDFP consultant for socio-economic reforms, said the problem of illegal drugs is not a simple police matter. “At the root of the problem of illegal drugs is landlessness, lack of decent jobs,” he said.