US solons want sanctions vs PH’s rabid red-taggers, rights violators


MANILA – United States legislators are invoking the US Global Magnitsky Act to urge its government to impose targeted sanctions against Philippine government officials with documented records of grave human rights violations.

Pennsylvania 7th District Rep. Susan Wild along with 24 other representatives in the US Congress sent their letter addressed to Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen on Jan. 24.

In this letter, Wild named Secretary of Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesman Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and former police chief Debold Sinas, as responsible for the alleged human rights violations under President Duterte.

“Those behind these corrosive violations should no longer operate with impunity,” the legislators said in their letter, adding, “In our stand for democracy, the United States cannot overlook the crisis in the Philippines, and we must take tangible action if we are to truly stand for human rights and the flourishing of freedom around the world.”

They cited reports from human rights groups such as International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch that have documented the “widespread harassment, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and assassination of journalists, dissidents, opposition leaders, members of the clergy, and labor organizers and leaders.”

“State forces continue to use ‘red-tagging,’ a practice in which activists and human rights groups are demonized and characterized as terrorists, as a pre-emptive move leading up to targeted assassinations, arrest without cause or other human rights abuses,” the legislators added.

Read: How red-tagging justifies human rights abuses

Through the Global Magnitsky Act, the US President has the power to block or revoke US visas and to block all US-based property and interests of foreign persons, both individuals and entities, who have engaged in gross human rights violations and government officials or their senior associates who also engage in acts of significant corruption.

In 2020, then US President Donald Trump approved the imposition of travel ban against people who are involved in the imprisonment of Sen. Leila De Lima. A result of this is the reported cancellation of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s US visa.

Human rights watchdog Karapatan lauded the US legislators’ efforts saying this, and the reintroduction of the Philippine Human Rights Act in the US Congress, which “further demonstrate that the international community can undertake meaningful steps on the human rights crisis in the Philippines.”

“These targeted sanctions help bring to fore the need to look into the acts and policies implemented by the Duterte administration that has resulted in extrajudicial killings, arbitrary or illegal arrests and detention, enforced disappearances and other grave human rights violations,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said in a statement.

Karapatan emphasized that “as the end of the Duterte administration draws near, steps towards accountability will not relent as thousands of victims and their families and communities continue to suffer and are left with dysfunctional domestic redress mechanisms that have not delivered justice.”

Read: Rights groups shun request to defer ICC probe, assert ‘domestic mechanisms ineffective, failing’

“The efforts at the International Criminal Court and the UN Office of the High Commissioner along with initiatives to pursue independent investigations by the UN Human Rights Council and of other governments, contribute to the strong clamor of peoples within and outside the Philippines to put a stop to the killings and other rights violations,” Palabay added. (RTS, RVO) (

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