Three Filipino human rights advocates are scheduled to testify at a hearing at the US Senate, which was called by Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California), to find ways to end the violence that has claimed the lives of 836 people since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed the Presidency in 2001.
The Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired by Sen. Boxer, has scheduled a hearing on the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines on Wednesday, March 14 at 2:30 PM (US time).
Human rights groups composed of 49 members and volunteers of Karapatan, Taripnong, KAMP and the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, with an Australian volunteer, complained of harassment by government troops in Cagayan Valley. The national fact-finding and relief mission was in response to the request to investigate military abuses in the province and to extend assistance to the victims’ families.
The human rights umbrella KARAPATAN scored the military and police for stalling the fact-finding mission.
End the state policy on civilian killings before victims can be in courts without fear. Thus said the human rights group Karapatan in the wake of a Supreme Court order to designate special courts that will try cases of extrajudicial killings.
The rights campaigners expressed that the special courts scheme is just a way of the Commander-in-Chief to lessen her command responsibility. This merely provides a damage control formula for the Arroyo regime but does not intend to stop the killings.
Witnesses and relatives of about 20 victims whose cases were documented by KARAPATAN presented their cases to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Mr. Philip Alston at an undisclosed place this morning.
Among the cases presented were those of Armando Javier, Jr. and Romeo Malabanan, victims of extrajudicial killings. Armando and his wife were shot inside their home on 2 October 2005. Armando was Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Party List Municipal Coordinator in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija and was being harassed by soldiers prior to his murder. Romeo Malabanan, a Bayan Muna Coordinator of Bay, Laguna was shot in front of their home on 23 December 2003.
UN Rapporteur on arbitrary executions visits the Philippines: rights and victims’ organizations express hopeSubmitted on Sat, 02/10/2007 - 00:00
“We welcome Mr. Philip Alston’s visit with optimism,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General of the human rights alliance KARAPATAN on the arrival of United Nations Special Rapporteur (SR) on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.
Enriquez says “it is high-time that the UN Special Rapporteur probes the interminable arbitrary executions under the Arroyo government.”