“We condemn in strongest possible terms the recent killing of four more farmers, adding to the 42 political killings under the Duterte administration. To say that there are no extra-judicial killings in the country, whether perpetrated through counter-insurgency programs or through the war on drugs, is covering up State accountability when its official policies sanctioned the sufferings of the poor majority of Filipino people,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the killing of four farmers in Compostela Valley, as well as recent statements by the Philippine National Police that there are no extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
“Despite laws that prohibit the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, such methods are still being employed by State security forces. Under the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, or RA 9745, there has only been one recorded conviction. This is regardless of the 248 torture incidents recorded by Karapatan under the BS Aquino regime, and 18 incidents under Duterte. This is only possible when the military and the police operate with impunity, sanctioned by the State to commit violations against the people,’ said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the continuing use of torture, most recently involving a peasant organizer in Nueva Ecija.
“For the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to continue lying through its teeth, it is a confirmation that they lack credibility and integrity, and that they are desperate for any opportunity to mask their abhorrent public image. Resorting to fake news is at the height of desperation. Since time immemorial, the AFP has been a foremost purveyor of fake news to save its own skin and to justify rights abuses,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the reports by the AFP of alleged hostage-taking, looting and threats of members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Antipas, North Cotabato. The AFP’s claims were later disputed by Mayor Egidio Cadungon of Antipas, North Cotabato.
Karapatan expressed support for the filing of criminal charges against perpetrators of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration, including the recently filed cases by kin of victims of political killings in Maayon, Capiz and that of relatives of victims of drug-related killings in Caloocan City.
“President Duterte, you say and grieved that you have lost soldiers, but you are losing constituents as well – the majority of the poor people you have sworn to protect when you took oath as President. The peasants, the indigenous people, the urban poor and the many others in the countryside, are they not what constitute the majority of the Filipino people? Shouldn’t you also grieve for their loss and mourn with their families?” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, on the continuing attacks against the people, more recently in Malibcong, Abra and Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.
“In the course of Duterte’s counter-insurgency programs supported by the US government and the military’s all-out-war, forty two (42) peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, and workers have already been killed, thousands have already been displaced while many more have been the subject of threats, harassment and intimidation. President Duterte should rethink the direction he has taken because where he is headed is a bloody trail of continuing human rights violations – the same direction that Duterte’s predecessors took,” said Palabay.
Continuous operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have caused the recent forcible evacuation of communities.