The arrest of retired general Jovito Palparan will not end impunity in the country and neither will it improve the human rights situation, as long as counterinsurgency programs are used to quell people’s dissent instead of addressing the root causes of the armed conflict. The machinery in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that perpetuates Palparan’s brand of human rights violations against the Filipino people is very much active in Oplan Bayanihan.
It’s a little-known fact, so the public may be surprised to know that every Aug. 11, the Armed Forces of the Philippines officially celebrates the passage of the International Humanitarian Law by having its soldiers renew their commitment to human rights and the rule of law at all times in the discharge of their duties. Or as Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin put it, “We should execute our duties and responsibilities to protect our citizens caught in the midst of armed conflicts in the country, and guarantee total respect for their human rights as prescribed by International Humanitarian Law.”
By Conrado de Quiros
The Association of General and Flag Officers want fairness. Jovito Palparan, they say, is being unduly subjected to trial by publicity. “Let him have his day in court and defend himself against his accusers. Our justice system presumes that he is innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.”
By Kristine A. Valerio
Two years ago, during Israel’s eight-day war on Gaza, I came to see with my own eyes the different faces of Palestine. Even as I was packing my stuff before leaving the Philippines, I was preparing myself for war-related traumas, for painful memories I would bring home on my return.
Like being tortured all over again. This must be how it feels for the tens of thousands of survivors required to relive the nightmare of their incarceration and abuse during Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship, to be able to qualify for a share of the compensation set aside for them.