Tags: leila de lima

In a presidential forum on human rights, Noynoy Aquino, amid hemming and hawing and qualifiers, said he favors a pre-Marcos-like Anti-Subversion Law. He said he is not averse to curtailing rights in the name of national security, although, he hoped “we will not have a situation that will necessitate that.”

Human-rights advocate welcome the signing into law of Republic Act 9745, which penalizes acts of torture in the Philippines. The challenge now, they say, is for the Arroyo administration to effectively implement it, given its sordid human-rights record.

Under the bill, no justification can be offered that would allow torture and other inhuman punishments. Those who torture will be penalized as principals, as well as their superiors in the military, police or law enforcement establishments who ordered it.

The Philippine military, through its attack dogs Pastor Alcover and Jovito Palparan, are trying to discredit the Commission on Human Rights and its chairperson, Leila de Lima. Human-rights groups are understandably concerned. “Now that the CHR chairperson insists on the mandate of the commission, they consider her as an enemy,” Marie Hilao-Enriquez of Karapatan said. “That is the most dangerous mindset.”

Freedom from torture is a non-derogable right, meaning that states cannot violate this right under any circumstances, even in a state of emergency or martial law. By insisting that Melissa Roxas is a communist guerrilla, the Arroyo regime not only practically admits that it tortured her — it seeks to justify the atrocity, thus violating the very international instruments that it had earlier agreed on.