THE Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a women’s research and training institution, and one of the member-organizations of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation to the 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, considered the pronouncement of the Philippine government in the Council last September 22 in Geneva as another spate of denial and distortion on the country’s condition.
“This exemplifies a truly false news! The Philippine government’s claim that the country has a vibrant democracy, no culture of impunity, and no extrajudicial killings, only shows a distorted view of the real national condition,” said Jojo Guan, CWR’s executive director and the center’s representative in the Philippine UPR Watch team composed of non-government organizations.
Guan added, “how could there be a vibrant democracy when there is martial law in Mindanao and the state threatens to spread it nationwide if there would be continuous protests against President Duterte’s tyrannical rule?”
How could there be a denial of a culture of impunity when the police and military could continue to harass, threaten, arrest, and even kill ordinary Filipinos and get away with it. Marawi women fear for their safety since the state forces use the ‘rape joke’ of the President when they ordered them to evacuate the city?
How could there be no extrajudicial killings when there are almost 4,000 killed in drug-related cases (according to PNP’s conservative data), 68 in politically motivated cases (as of July 2017), and 45 civilians killed in their military operations in Marawi? Worse, the victims are getting younger: Althea Barbon (4 years old), Danica May (5 years old), and Francis Mañosca (5 years old) were killed in drug-related operations last year.
Guan said that the government even declined and merely “noted” 154 of the 257 recommendations from other member states on improving the human rights condition in the country. The Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Evan Garcia, justified the government’s decision as “beyond its sole control.”
“So, if it is beyond the control of the government, who is in control then? Rejections and denials are the standard response of the government even in the past. So long as the government imposes a culture of militarism, violations of human rights will continue. And surely, human rights defenders will likewise persist,” said Guan.--Center for Women’s Resources
Atio killers could get 40 years
The killers of hazing victim and University of Santos Tomas (UST) first-year law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III are facing 40 years in prison. We say killers because in a hazing death, all participants in harming the victim are considered principal actors in the commission of the crime.
If there were 10 or 20 fraternity officers or members who paddled, kicked, punched or slapped Castillo, then they are all primarily responsible for his death.
Under Anti-Hazing Law, or Republic Act 8049, “reclusion perpetua” is the penalty for those found responsible for the death, rape, sodomy or mutilation of a person during hazing. --Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2017.
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