Aquino should account for rights violations and not blame victims | Inquirer Opinion
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Aquino should account for rights violations and not blame victims

/ 03:59 AM December 11, 2014

Malacañang called the Nov. 29 protest action of the Manilakbayan contingent at Times Street, Quezon City, “vandalism masquerading as legitimate protest.” It is a logical reaction from a regime that looks at governance as a game of masquerade instead of addressing the roots of people’s dissent.

President Aquino, all through the more than four years of his US-backed regime, has resorted to dishing out catchy slogans to mask its attacks on the Filipino people. Mr. Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, which is instrumental in the bombing of communities, and illegal arrest, detention and killings of activists, is masqueraded as “peace and development, and respect for human rights.” The police brutality used against legitimate protest actions and during the demolition of urban poor shanties is masqueraded as “maintenance of peace and order.” The pork barrel system and the Development Acceleration Program are masqueraded as “economic stimuli.”

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Mr. Aquino’s statements on extrajudicial killings and a host of human rights violations in the Philippines sound like recorded response—canned, predictable; nay, a mantra he has to recite to convince himself that his regime is different from all the previous regimes which committed transgressions on people’s rights and lives.

If not riddled with catchy phrases, Mr. Aquino’s statements are delusional like this one: “There has been a significant reduction of recorded or validated extralegal killings.” Or he dismisses human rights violations under his regime as “baseless” or “propaganda.”

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We commemorated the International Day of Human Rights yesterday—the fifth under the US-Aquino regime. Beyond the name-calling and outright lies, we no longer expect to hear from Mr. Aquino an accounting of his regime’s responsibility for the gross human rights violations committed against the people. But we keep tabs. The US-Aquino regime stands on trial before the nation. The people are the witnesses and their own harrowing experiences under this regime, their testimonies.

The peasants and indigenous peoples of Mindanao who travelled to Metro Manila for more than a thousand kilometers are examples. Definitely they are here not to attend Mr. Aquino’s masquerade ball. Their lives are on the line as they defend the country’s remaining natural resources from plunder by big and foreign interests. They are victims of large-scale military operations.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has admitted that it has not scored major victories against the New People’s Army. But across the country, it attacks civilians, directing its bombs against peasants and indigenous peoples in the remote and mountain communities.

The Aquino regime is bent on waging a war that perpetuates the same rotten system that is exploiting and oppressing the Filipino people. Like his predecessors, Mr. Aquino continues to wage a futile war that does nothing to address the roots of the civil war that is raging on.

—CRISTINA PALABAY,

secretary general, Karapatan,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Aquino, Development Acceleration Program, extra-judicial killings, Manilakbayan, oplan bayanihan, pork barrel system, Times Street
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