For the greed for
money, corruption persists
By CHITO DELA TORRE
Money was powerful
last Monday. It made the highest giver the much-sought for victory in
the October 25, 2010 barangay elections. It could have been powerless
as to sway votes if it wasn’t given.
Of course, many did
not join those who went to the house of Mr./Mrs. Punong Barangay
Incumbent to receive between P100 and P500 that the re-electionist
village chief was giving each voter who appeared in a list on which
the recipient would affix “a” signature to vouchsafe that the cash
election bribe was actually received. Congressman/Congresswoman X/W,
who gave at least P83,000 for every complete line-up of candidates for
elective barangay positions, was actually not interested to look into
that list, although he/she at first wanted to know why the incumbent
first kagawad was not in the line-up submitted.
Kagawad candidates who
gave P20 or P50 per voter did not, of course, reveal that the cash
bribe came from X/W, although voters in their community knew there was
much money to flood with.
Few, however, won
without bribing voters.
Between these two
dimensions, so clear are two lessons: first, if no politician would
support any candidate with election money, no candidate would dare
spend more than his or her own financial capability; and second, if
not candidate would give out cash, no voter would ask for it. In both
lessons, elections could still push through, and winners could still
Apart from this
election offense that is known most popularly as vote-buying, another
election offense was committed rather in a manner as if to insult the
board of election tellers, the election laws, and democracy itself.
One candidate for kagawad used the line of voters as a strategy: each
time she reached the
BET’s table, she would not declare her intention to vote but would instead
rejoin the new line from the tail-end, and repeat her condemnable act
of asking voters in the line to vote for her or look through the
window to find out what voters inside the voting precinct were writing
on their ballots.
Hours before the
election, non-resident registered voters dined and slept with a
candidate whose family were prompted to render them “extra” service.
A few minutes to voting time, they walked to another candidate and
received P300 each from the latter, then cast their votes. By past 9
p.m., the P300-giver won by a large margin.
These were reports
reaching the media, but the media could not do so much about them.
* * * * * * * * * *
should beware of a media photographer who might mingle with them. The
subject recently threatened to castigate a media man taller and bigger
than his size, after the latter reportedly released to the media
audience an awkward thing that he did that displeased a government
official. This same guy is already known to show himself off as a
toughie, and would sometimes bully media reporters by shouting to
their scare. Apparently, he has no respect for others and his
wrongdoings tend to vitiate the passivity of true-bloodied media
personnel in the Waray Region. He is one who does not deserve to stay
any minute longer in the private, much less the government, media.
respectable private entities should also beware of this media
photographer. Often, without any courtesy and even without being
invited, he just barges in to try to impress others that he already is
Indeed, there are bad
eggs who fell into the media basket.
Less than half a
decade ago, a media reporter wildly spread a false report that a
fellow reporter was receiving cash from a lady governor. That false
feed besmirched the image of the media, particularly in the place
where the victim reporter was performing his reportorial functions.
An upcoming newsman, in another instance, was forced to file a libel
case against one reporter who created a lie that almost isolated the
former as one among the enemy targets of the military. The root cause
of both instances had been BIG MONEY, which divides media personnel
and deplorably and unfairly downgrades the personality of the innocent
These are shades of
a corrupt society. Everyone should hope that the PNoy regime can cut
this off even as it is crusading on a campaign promise to unveil the
truths about institutionalized and minuscule corruption in the
A broken and lawless
nation – killing in front of families
A Statement by the
Asian Human Rights Commission
October 27, 2010
When a country's
protection mechanism is no longer capable of protecting its own
people, its own system is deeply flawed; when a society can no longer
protect the people in their community, the bond of fraternity that
binds human civilization is broken; and when killings are done in
front of families it illustrates the breakdown and separation, not
only for families who lost their loved ones, but of the family as part
of the society and the country.
It is an illusion, if
it is not an absurdity for anyone to claim without fear and
reservation, that there is protection and security for the people in
the Philippines. It has become ordinary for killings to be carried out
by policemen, the military and the paramilitary forces working for
them; killing in broad daylight before witnesses in crowded public
places and in front of the victim's family in their own homes.
Hundreds, if not thousands of stories go unreported and this has been
taking place in the country for many years now.
What is left is an
imagery of the existence of a nation, it exists in name only. The
nation's fundamental existence is to protect and uphold the interest
of each and every Filipino, who are themselves part of a family; a
family that is part of a community; a community that is part of a
society; and a society that composes the nation. The functioning of
the country's institutions, by virtue of reason, is an agreement by
the people who have come together to protect their shared interest:
A system of justice
was built and in the local context of the Philippines it is called the
"Five pillars of the Criminal Justice System" (composed of the police,
prosecution, judiciary, prisons and the community). The reason for its
existence is not solely to protect and maintain the institutions; but
for individuals who are part of this group of people--by birth,
nationality or habitation--that is called the
All the Filipinos who compose this nation are subject to its rules. It
is the protection and preservation of the rights of this individual
and the group he is part of that is the reason for the existence of
But when the system of
justice no longer functions for the protection of each individual, but
rather an exclusive small group of people who are part of these
institutions; and to protect the institution that they work for, the
purpose of its existence has lost its meaning. The institutions may
still survive but not for the reason for which they were originally
built, but only to protect the interests of the people who are part of
the system. Those who protect these systems are the very people who
themselves do not feel protected and secured; thus, being part of it
gives them protection so they protect its status quo.
Therefore, the neglect
and abandonment of the country's system is felt hard by people who are
not within the system, but who were part of the original reason for
its creation. But in reality, the system which they once had can no
longer protect them unless they are within it. The system thrives not
because it satisfies the individual or the group but rather because
their physical existence justifies its need. An individual cannot
create and subject himself to his own system and be a nation unto
In a country where an
individual could no longer protect himself, he cannot protect his
family; a family who cannot protect its members, cannot protect the
community where they belong; and a person, a family and a community
that cannot protect itself cannot protect a Nation. A Nation that
cannot protect its own citizens, their families and the community
where they live cannot hope to protect the foreigners on its soil. It
is a broken and lawless nation.
A system of justice
can still continue to exist on paper, structure and appearance, but
its existence is meaningless once it departs from its original role of
being a protector, it becomes the very opposite of what it was
supposed to be; that is the protector of those within the system,
protecting those who are already protected; securing those who are
already secured. This is the type system that each Filipino lives in
daily in their own country. Unless there is a discussion and organic
realization by those who are part of the system of the need for reform
to reexamine their purpose, its existence remains an object of
The murders of
Reynaldo Labrador of Davao City and Vicente Felisilda of Mawab,
Compostela Valley, who were both executed in front of their families
illustrates how broken and lawless the country has become. These cases
are documented by a local human rights group, Karapatan.
Reynaldo Labrador: shot in front of his wife, children
Reynaldo was 39 years
old, had 3 children and was a member of the Paquibato District Farmers
Association (PADIFA), a local chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng
Pilipinas (KMP) or Philippine Peasant Movement. He was shot dead at
7:30 p.m. on September 3, 2010 in front of his wife, Leonisa and his
daughters Reylon, 10; Raquel, 8; Jennifer, 4, at their home in
Paquibato District, Davao City.
Labrador was already
inside their home when two men, one of whom was identified as Berto
Repe, a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu),
came looking for him. Cafgu is a paramilitary unit under the immediate
control and command of the military. Repe is attached to the 69th
Infantry Battalion of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade of the 10th Infantry
Division Philippine Army (IDPA).
The two were met by
Labrador's wife, Leonisa, as she was doing laundry outside their
house. They told her that they were carrying documents for her husband
to receive. When she offered to received them they insisted that they
could only give the documents to her husband. She then called to her
husband who was resting inside. When he emerged, Repe's companion
pulled out his handgun and shot him in the head and chest. He died
Reylon, the victim's
eldest daughter, tried to go to her father after hearing the gunshot,
but after seeing her father dead she jumped out of the house. She
immediately called for their neighbors help. Leonisa immediately took
the other two children, Raquel and Jennifer, to safety. The gunmen
escaped after the shooting. They left a note at the victim's house
that read: "Demonyo ka! Hiposon ka!" (You're evil! You must be
On 6th of September, a
group of soldiers had come to
Labrador's house. The victim's family believes that the soldiers had come to see
them to intimidate them from taking part in any demand for an
investigation. This was after a local human rights group, Karapatan in
Davao City, had
sought the help of the local government to look into the case. The
city's legislative body commenced an inquiry in aid of legislation on
Vicente Felisilda: shot in front of his brother
Felisilda was 38 years
old, a farmer with four children and member of a political party,
Bayan Muna. On September 9, 2010 at 7pm, he and his elder brother,
Allan, were resting inside a small hut in Mawab town, Compostela
Valley after extracting meat from coconut shells in their farm.
While the brothers
were resting, two gunmen arrived at the place. They were wearing plain
clothes and armed with .45 caliber pistol. At first the two greeted
the brothers and tried to make conversation with them by asking what
they were doing. However, suddenly one of them shot Vicente at close
range. Startled by what he saw, Allan run for safety to a cliff
Allan could not see
what was happening at the hut due to darkness, but he could hear his
younger brother moaning in pain. About 20 minutes later, the
perpetrators finished his younger brother off as he heard another
gunshot coming from the hut. The second round of gunshots had
frightened Allan prompting him to jump into the cliff for fear that
once they found him they would kill him next.
It was only until
about 11pm that Allan emerged from where he was hiding when Vicente's
wife, Rosalie, her three children--aged 8, 4 and 2; and her neighbor,
Catherine, arrived at the hut. The group had walked for half an hour
from where they were staying to check on what was happening at the hut
after they heard the gunshots. They saw the victim's body. He suffered
gunshot wounds to his head and chest.
The following day,
they took Felisilda's body to a local funeral parlor to be embalmed.
Here, there were four police investigators from Mawab Municipal Police
Station who conducted an investigation; however, the victim's family
did not report the shooting to the police. No post mortem examination
was conducted before the burial.
LWUA takes over
management of Basey Water District until October 15, 2011
By CHITO DELA TORRE, email@example.com
The woes of the water
concessionaires of Basey, Samar may be over within the next eleven
months. This after the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)
has “partially” taken over the “management functions” of the nearly
23-year old Basey Water District (BWD) effective October 16. During
the period that the LWUA’s mind, heart and hand will be directly upon
the BWD’s organizational and technical concerns, water consumers in
the town’s 18 barrios that are directly served by the district, can
expect fair, albeit drastic or radical, changes and improvements.
Most importantly, they can expect clean and potable water that is safe
to drink even by infants and the sick.
Daniel I. Landingin designated Antonio Ronelo C. Palencia, the
incumbent water utility development chief of LWUA’s Area 6 (Bicol/Visayas),
as interim general manager “to effect a partial take-over of the
management functions” of the cash-strapped water district, “effective
October 16, 2010”.
In his undated
memorandum of designation, Landingin instructed Palencia to perform
four specific functions, namely:
“1. Review, study and
recommend as necessary the effectiveness and workability of the
existing organization, facilities, systems, and procedures, policies,
guidelines, rules and regulation(s). Make necessary amendments and/or
adjustments so as to conform to LWUA guidelines and policies;
“2. Hire and/or fire
such personnel as may be necessary to carry out effectively the
take-over of the water district in accordance with the existing laws;
“3. Establish systems
and procedures to hasten the institutional growth and viability of the
water district; (and)
“4. Provide guidance
and training to district employees to improve and attain efficient
Last October 12, the
LWUA czar approved a recommendation for the take-over submitted by
LWUA senior deputy administrator Emmanuel B. Malicdem.
Malicdem provided his
boss with the background information on the ailing water district,
which served as basis for his recommendation. In his September 27
memorandum for the administrator, he said in part:
“2. The BWD was a
beneficiary of the P5.0 Million JICA Grant for Small Water District in
2007. It was later granted a P0.6 Million loan from LWUA to repay the
unremitted contributions to the GSIS. On March 2009, it availed of a
P5.0 Million Emergency Loan for the repair and rehabilitation of its
transmission line which was damaged. Simultaneous to the emergency
loan, the BWD was granted one (1) year suspension of billings on all
loans (including restructured) as a relief of the emergency situation.
“3. The district has
yet to resume paying its regular monthly amortization of P47,889 per
month starting March 2010 and is now seven months delayed. On top of
this, the district has to pay up P0.57Million suspended billings in
less than a year pursuant to LWUA policy. The amortization on the
P5.0 Million Emergency Loan is also forthcoming.
“The (General Manager)
has outstanding materials loans with various suppliers amounting to
P611,826.70 without prior approval from the (Board of Directors).
“4. Moreover, due to
numerous complaints of water consumers of the poor water service of
the district, the Municipal Government of Basey,
Samar, through the Sangguniang Bayan, issued Resolution No. 108,
Series of 2010 requesting the LWUA to take over the management and
operation of the BWD for failure of management to provide potable
water to its constituents.”
On the same date of
Malicdem’s recommendation, Administrator Landingin forthwith
recommended to the LWUA board of trustees the “partial take-over of
the management function of the Basey Water District effective
October 16, 2010”, incorporating therein as his justification those
made in the Malicdem memo.
The LWUA administrator
took another proper step before effecting the take-over. On the day
of the town fiesta of Basey, September 29, Landingin wrote Alexis V.
Yu, the BWD’s chairman of its board of directors, informing the BOD
head, as follows:
“Please be informed
that due to the inability on the part of the Basey Water District to
cope up with the mounting arrears on the regular monthly amortization,
the P0.57 Million suspended billings and forthcoming amortization on
P5.0 Million Emergency Loan, we have decided to temporarily take over
the management functions of your Water District, pursuant to Sec.36 of
PD 108, as amended, and the provision of the Contract of Loan executed
between the Basey Water District and the LWUA.
“Our take-over of the
Basey Water District will take effect for one (1) year starting
October 16, 2010, after which autonomy shall be returned to the water
district. Rest assured that during the period of take-over, we will
strive to effect the necessary steps to develop your personnel and
operating procedures to promote the viability of your water district.”
was attached to that letter for BOD chairman Yu.
It’s not known yet to
many in the Waray Region whether the interim general manager, Antonio
Ronelo C. Palencia, hails from the World-War-II-historic town of Leyte,
or is related to the Palencia families in Leyte. Perhaps, someone can
provide this writer with the IGM’s resume or biodata so that we can
get to know him through this corner.
In the meantime, I
join the Basaynons in thanking the LWUA for its appropriate action and
in welcoming – with our hats off!, IGM Tony Palencia.
At the same time, we
all are congratulating the sangguniang bayan of Basey for having been
effective in its legislative function that brought its leadership to
the water supply crisis that has been facing Basaynons for many years
now. It looks as if it’s only at this time that the SB has awakened
to this ageing, and worsening problem – now that a young professional
is at its helm as steersman, honorable vice-mayor Raul Sendic Bajas.
RH issue shows
confusion among Catholics
By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 18, 2010
LIKE a chemical
compound called reagent, the RH question exposes the range and scope
of the confusion and disaffection among many Catholic faithful toward
their Church, her doctrine and discipline. Let´s hope it will also
give us an idea of the solution to be applied.
There was an explosion
of views, many of them shooting from the hip, but a few also came up,
from so-called theologians, with serious arguments that actually
contained nothing more than sophistries.
The reckless comments
are usually found in the media, with everyone, from editors and
reporters to readers, giving their 2 cents worth. The more serious and
dangerous ones are found in journals, in seminars and centers of
Among the amusing
arguments are the accusations that the Church wants to run the whole
country, wants to interfere in government affairs, wants to destroy
society by encouraging civil disobedience, etc.
We don´t have to spend
much time refuting these arguments. They have a short shelf life,
since they have no roots, or are like little rocks thrown at the
Church, causing some disturbance, but largely left where they fall
with hardly anyone taking notice. Wild and gratuitous, they pop in and
out anytime and just die under the sun or simply rot.
The more serious
threats have to be taken with more caution. They usually come from the
ranks of the clergy, a truly disturbing phenomenon. With PhD´s and
STD´s, they like to present themselves as the true light in a world
plunged in darkness or in a Church stuck in the past. But, ok, let´s
always give them the benefit of the doubt.
They usually begin
their arguments by introducing themselves as moderates, not
hardliners, who try to hew a saner, more rational and compassionate
position. With very subtle maneuverings, they try to make themselves
the exclusive owners of St. Augustine´s maxim: “In essentials, unity;
in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.”
They point out to the
public that their presentation is not merely anecdotal in shrill
tones, but scientific in calm, sober tones, an obvious dig at those
who convey the official teaching of the Church by ornamenting it with
stories. The implication is that they are not fanatics, like those
those who oppose RH.
But they miss out many
things as they focus only on their bias of making the RH acceptable.
They paint the RH Bill, for example, as a mixed bag, an assortment of
good and bad elements that should not just be dismissed. In fact, it
should be approved, glossing over the essential issues while
sweetening its perceived bad elements.
Not only that, they
now appear to be its most serious attorneys, defending it from any
question or protest raised against it, openly putting themselves at
the other side of the Bishops´ position. That´s loyalty for them.
They seem to be
unaware of the global context in which this RH issue was born and
developed – the ugly backroom geopolitics and commercial horsetrading
done in its name. While they are clearly against abortion, at least,
as of now, they are much at sea about contraception.
To them, contraception
is not intrinsically evil, an echo of the liberals´ dissent on Humanae
Vitae. Pope John Paul II reiterated the intrinsic evil of
contraception in his Evangelium Vitae. How clever they are in glib
talk, both cutting corners and straying into irrelevant nooks to make
They make a strong
appeal for the voice of personal conscience as the final arbiter,
without much concern for its formation. Their favorite line is that in
the end it´s just a question between the individual and God that
matters. All the intervening authorities, the Church Magisterium in
particular, are easily set aside.
They usually conclude
their arguments by saying that we should not make laws that
discriminate against the others who may take the opposite view of what
the Church leaders teach. Yes, even in matters of life and morality,
they preach that we ought to be open, in a blatant display of what is
now known as the tyranny of relativism.
There´s no doubt that
the Church authorities have to wage at least a comprehensive
information campaign about the RH issue, and to sustain an ongoing
formation first among the clergy and then the rest of the faithful.
Church leaders need
to summon the help of all Church organs and facilities to pursue this
plan. They have to weed out some bad elements in strategic locations
in the Church structures, like the seminaries, parishes and some
so-called Catholic schools.
underdog system of justice
A Statement by the
Asian Human Rights Commission
October 15, 2010
President Benigno Aquino III decided to grant amnesty to the military
men charged for rebellion against the government and not to file
criminal charges against an official and the policemen involved in the
Manila bus hostage incident, it demonstrated how deeply politically
controlled the system of justice is in the country. His orders also
demonstrate his outright disregard for the prosecution system by
taking upon himself the decision as to when and when not to pursue
criminal cases in court.
The Asian Human Rights
Commission (AHRC) express its deep concern that President Aquino's
decision had further subjected the role of the Department of Justice (DoJ)
and its attached agency, the National Prosecution Service (NPS), to
political control and undermining. These two orders reaffirmed the
vulnerability of the justice department and the prosecution system
from political control. These agencies, which are responsible in the
investigation and prosecution of criminal cases in court, are in
reality underdogs and at the mercy of the President.
The very structure of
the country's system of justice is deeply politicized and is subject
to political control. The NPS is by authority, under the DoJ. The head
of the DoJ is a political appointee of the President and serves at his
disposal. The President's power and control extends, not only upon the
secretary of the DoJ whom he appointed, but to all the state and
public prosecutors under the DoJ.
In the Philippines,
the Office of the President (OP) has the power to impose disciplinary
sanction, like taking away the salaries and benefits; suspend any
senior state prosecutors and public prosecutors anywhere in the
country. The President also has power to order the DoJ and the NPS to
review cases they are handling. The DoJ secretary serves at the
disposal of the President, including reporting to him on the
functioning of the prosecution service--such as the decision whether
or not to pursue criminal cases in court.
There is no challenge
that could be made as to whether the President's decision was based on
merit and the evidence gathered by the DoJ and the NPS, but all are at
the complete discretion of the President. The system of justice in
reality permits, legally and structurally, the Head of State to take
over and usurp the role of a prosecutor.
Manila bus hostage:
President Aquino's creation of the Incident Investigation and Review
Committee (IIRC), headed by DoJ secretary Ms Leila de Lima, supposedly
to investigate and review the incident to identify who should be held
criminally liable for the death of the eight Hong Kong nationals was
purely founded on publicity. It was nothing more than a façade.
However, even at the early stage of the President's announcement its
intention was to have a legal machinery to legally justify the
exoneration of those who had been involved and subjected to
Was there really a
need to create the IIRC? No. The DoJ and the NPS are legally and
structurally mandated to investigate and prosecute cases that breached
the country's penal and statutory laws. This is without any regard to
the nature of the severity of the offence and who the victims were.
The IIRC was rather in reality created as a legal theatrical exercise
which would amount to nothing less: once again, it is nothing more
than a facade. President Aquino's decision to rescind the IIRC
recommendation by not pursuing criminal cases against the top
officials and policemen involved revealed the purpose of its creation.
There is not even a semblance of accountability.
The AHRC shares
Secretary De Lima's concern and disappointment of President Aquino's
decision not to pursue the criminal charges in the
Manila bus hostage. Her public statement that she is only the
President's "alter ego"; and that the IIRC is aware that their
recommendations are at the President's disposal, demonstrates how
subservient and controlled the DoJ is by the President. The refusal by
the President to have full disclosure of the recommendations by the
IIRC denies and deprives the possibility of public discourse as to the
merit on which the President based his decision.
Grant of amnesty to
rebel soldiers: Granting amnesty and executive clemency is legally the
authority of the President; however, when power is exercised on the
basis of political consideration on the pretext of political
reconciliation, outright disregard to judicial process, and unequal
treatment as to who deserves amnesty and clemency, the decision
borders on the abused of and inequality in the exercise of power.
President Aquino has
ordered the granting of amnesty to 300 rebel soldiers, who were
involved and charged for the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny; the February
2006 Marines standoff; and the November 2007 Manila Peninsula
takeover, purposely for political reconciliation and unity amongst the
Filipino people. These soldiers had rebelled against the previous
administration; thus, he argued that to grant them amnesty is needed
for the unification of the country and good governance.
order, by granting amnesty, which would effectively nullify the
ongoing prosecution of their case in court, once again demonstrates
his outright disregard to the country's prosecution system. On the
Oakwood mutiny case, the public prosecutors spent over seven years in
collecting evidence and prosecuting the case, but before the court
could render its final judgement on October 28, 2010 the soldiers were
already given amnesty. Thus, whether the soldiers would have been
convicted or exonerated no longer matters. The merits and substance as
to whether the soldiers should be punished for their actions; and for
undermining the government, would have no meaning at all.
The AHRC shares the
disappointment expressed by Senior State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera
in his public interview that by granting "amnesty (before the court
could render its judgement) erases all the liabilities of a person as
if the offense was not committed." As mentioned, state and public
prosecutors are completely at the discretion of the President.
Therefore, whether this prosecutor agrees to the President's amnesty
or not, the choice is neither his or his superior, DoJ Secretary De
Lima, but completely that of the President.
The granting of
amnesty to the soldiers should also apply to over 96,000 prisoners all
over the country who had been recommended by the Board of Pardons and
Parole. This board, however, is once again under the authority and
jurisdiction of the DoJ; thus, the decision as to whether the Board's
recommendation be granted or not would once again fall under the
President. However, should these prisoners not be given amnesty as the
soldiers have, it illustrates inequality in the President's
application of power.
The AHRC is deeply
concerned that decisions within the framework of the country's system
of justice have been made on the basis of political consideration and
The AHRC renews its
call to consider as urgent the pending legislation to afford the
National Prosecution Service (NPS) its independence and freedom from
political control--legally and structurally. The country's future in
its prosecution of criminal cases, particularly in cases involving
worst forms of human rights violations perpetrated by politically
influential persons in the government, relies heavily on the
independence of its system of justice.
A Press Statement by
the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) on the
10th Anniversary of the Disappearance of the PICOP 6 Workers
Artemio Ayala, Jr.,
Joseph Belar, Arnold Dangquiasan, Jovencio Lagare, Diosdado Oliver and
Romualdo Orcullo were unlawfully arrested, illegally detained,
inhumanely tortured, violently killed, unceremoniously buried, hastily
unearthed, and unconscionably burned.
On the night of
October 14, 2000, six sub-contractual workers of the PICOP Resources,
Inc. were forcibly abducted from a videoke bar in Sta. Maria,
Trento, Agusan del Sur
by members of the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
On the tenth
anniversary of their enforced disappearance, their families join FIND
(Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance) in urging the Aquino government to formulate and fully implement a human rights
agenda that will prevent if not end enforced disappearance and other
human rights violations.
FIND challenges the
president not to temporize in addressing the persistent impunity and
virtual immunity of human rights violators.
After eight long
years, only one of the soldiers has been convicted and only as an
accomplice to the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
Giving credence to the
prosecution witness, Army Sgt. Eseqiuas Duyogan, who testified in
rebuttal, the Regional Trial Court Branch 6 in Prosperidad, Agusan Del
Sur declared in July 2008 that “there is now cause for the Department
of Justice to start an inquiry” into the “criminal culpability” of the
13 other military men whom he implicated in the kidnapping, serious
illegal detention, torture and killing of the six workers.
investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) prompted
the families to file a complaint for the multiple murder before the
office of the Provincial Prosecutors in Agusan del Sur. The complaint
is under preliminary investigation.
The multiple murder
case could be problematic because of the absence of the bodies of the
victims. Such eventuality could be obviated by a special law that
penalizes enforced disappearance as a continuing crime.
anti-enforced or involuntary disappearance law specifies concealment
of the fate and whereabouts of the victim as one of the elements of
Eight of the nine
anti-enforced or involuntary disappearance bills pending before the
15th Congress adopt the definition of enforced disappearance under the
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from
considers enforced disappearance as “the arrest, detention, abduction
or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or
by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support
or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the
deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of
the disappeared person which place such a person outside the
protection of the law.”
It is beyond dispute
that the PICOP 6 case exhibits all the essential elements of enforced
disappearance as the workers were abducted and herded into the army
camp by a team of soldiers who denied taking them into custody or who
concealed the victims’ fate and whereabouts thereby depriving them of
protection of the law.
Despite the long wait
for an appropriate law under which perpetrators of enforced
disappearance can be effectively prosecuted, the families of the PICOP
6 desaparecidos as well as those of other victims of enforced
disappearance have been steadfast in their search for truth and
Until the truth is
uncovered and justice dispensed, there is no closure to the PICOP 6
and other enforced disappearance cases.
ENACT AN ANTI-ENFORCED
SIGN AND RATIFY THE
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF ALL PERSONS FROM