“The President must guarantee that no one is above the law.” This is what Amnesty International is asking President Aquino in the face of the 75 reported cases of police torture last year and 28 in the first half of 2014.
Last Dec. 3, we commemorated the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. We remembered and paid tribute to the many activists and advocates imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and because they opposed the dictatorship and denounced irregularities in government. They also advocated genuine land reform, helped educate indigenous peoples, fought against capitalism and sought redress of social ills. And despite the dangers they and their families faced because of their antidictatorship activities, they asserted and exercised the freedoms guaranteed them by the Philippine Constitution.
It’s like shooting the messenger if you don’t like his message, and then saying it just had to do with how he said it. The Armed Forces’ disbarment charge against public interest lawyer Harry Roque unfortunately pits the defenders of the republic against a defender of human rights. The AFP sends all the wrong messages to the Filipino public and to the larger community of human rights advocates here and abroad, and actually invites a closer look at its own dismal historical record at vindicating human dignity and enforcing discipline in its own ranks.
Last Nov. 2, we observed the first United Nations Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, with sorrow and rage.
Trust is earned. Jejomar Binay apparently knows this all too well. As a human rights lawyer during the martial law years, he helped many poor litigants obtain justice. And as Makati mayor since 1986, he attended to the needs and problems of his constituents.