Karapatan: Duterte showing authoritarian side
President Duterte’s threats to arrest those who oppose martial law in Mindanao and his orders to the military to kill civilians reek of his authoritarian tendencies and his propensity to commit further violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. While he fully lends his ears to militarist thugs such as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, he has turned a deaf and callous ear to the cries of the Moro people calling for the lifting of martial law and an end to aerial strikes. With US troops and the military as his only sources of information on the ground, how sure is he that everything these fascist institutions report is indeed true, when they are one of the foremost purveyors of fake news?
Statements of Lorenzana and the Commission on Human Rights that there are no human rights violations since Mr. Duterte’s imposition of Proclamation No. 216 on May 23, 2017, are false. Karapatan documented at least seven extrajudicial killings and 327 individuals illegally arrested in Mindanao after May 23. Most of the victims were farmers, Moro and indigenous people. The most recent incident is the illegal arrest of Alicia Tindasan, Jhona Rose Baugto, Rolan Segovia and Estanislao Talledo, members of the Compostela Farmers Association, who were supposed to attend the scheduled barangay-wide assembly of the local peasant organization in Purok 4B, Barangay Mangayon, Compostela, Compostela Valley. They were held by soldiers under the 66th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army on July 2, at around 2 p.m., and were brought to the Compostela Municipal Police Station, where they were charged with a fabricated case of illegal possession of explosives.
Aside from the 400,440 individuals or 84,855 families from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, cited in the NDRRMC report of July 1, there are 1,695 families more which evacuated from Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao; Matanao, Davao del Sur; and President Roxas, North Cotabato because of military aerial bombings.
No one may be filing complaints before the DND and the CHR, because in many, if not all, of the cases filed against state security forces, nothing has been done to mete out accountability and justice, while victims and their families are harassed if they pursue these cases. They were never seen as instruments of justice, but instead as mere facades that only enabled further impunity.
The people’s opposition to martial law in Mindanao is based on reasonable and just grounds. If homes are bombed for reasons which are seemingly blown out of proportion, and when warrantless arrests and killings are done for the insidious “peace and security” reasons, martial law will indeed be seen as anathema to people’s interests.
The humanitarian crisis and corresponding rights violations as consequences of military bombings and operations in line with martial law, which is also being used for the government’s counterinsurgency war against the people of Mindanao, are more than enough reasons for the lifting of Proclamation 216. With the recent Supreme Court decision on citizens’ petitions declaring the constitutionality of martial law in Mindanao, the Filipino people are more emboldened to resist these fascist attacks of the Duterte administration.
CRISTINA PALABAY, Secretary General, Karapatan, [email protected]
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