Aquino using gender card in HR board appointment
The appointment to the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board of somebody from an institution that has systematically spawned rights violations (including various forms of violence against women) since the martial law period is an affront to Filipinos and all victims of human rights abuses.
During the Marcos regime, thousands of women were killed, disappeared, tortured, raped, illegally arrested and detained by the Philippine Constabulary and other government apparatuses to quell the resistance of the Filipino people against the dictatorship. Similar human rights violations continue to be committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP). During the Arroyo administration, when Sarmiento was part of the PNP Human Rights Office, 152 women fell victim to extrajudicial killings, 31 were disappeared, while 290 were illegally arrested and detained. Under the current Aquino administration, human rights group Karapatan has documented 18 cases of women-victims of extrajudicial killings, three cases of rape of girls, and 33 cases of women political prisoners who were also victims of illegal arrests and fabricated charges.
President Aquino is using a retired female police official to deodorize stinking institutions with notorious records of human rights abuses. We decry Mr. Aquino’s use of the gender card to justify the appointment of a police director to a body that is supposed to deliver justice to women-victims of martial law. While it is important to promote the substantive and democratic participation of women in all political processes, the appointment of Sarmiento does not, by any account, indicate that the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged Filipino women who suffered and struggled during the martial law period will attain justice—not while a representative of their oppressors sits at the helm of the claims body.
—KIRI DALENA and
convenors, Tanggol Bayi,
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