HRW: PHL GOVT PREMATURE IN CLAIMING PROGRESS IN HUMAN RIGHTS CRIMES



[PHOTO -Jovito Palparan Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO]

MANILA, OCTOBER 1, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Fat Reyes - A New York-based human-rights watchdog on Wednesday said that the Philippine government was premature in claiming that it had made significant progress in addressing human rights issues, insisting the need for the government to successfully prosecute those responsible for extrajudicial killings.

“The question isn’t what the government plans to do, but what it has already done. Up to the present, there have been no successful prosecutions of military personnel for extra-judicial killings,” Brian Adams, Asia Director for the Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The statement came in reaction to a meeting that was held between Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and members of the United States House of Representatives in Washington on September 24.

Earlier reports said the US lawmakers were pleased with the measures being undertaken by the present administration of President Benigno Aquino III to improve the country’s human-rights record.

In his statement, Adams argued that while the rate of killings since Aquino came to power in 2010 had certainly gone down, the killings still persisted.

“Unless the government prosecutes those responsible for past and recent abuses—and ensure that there are institutions capable of doing so—there is nothing to prevent these abuses from increasing again in the future,” Adams said.

Among high-ranking military personnel charged with human-rights abuses is fugitive former Army General Jovito Palparan Jr.

He is charged with the 2006 abduction and illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Former top government officials charged with murder related to extra-judicial killings are former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother Mario, Dinagat Island Representative Ruben Ecleo Jr., and the Ampatuans of Maguindanao.

The fugitive Reyes brothers are charged for the killing of environmentalist-radio broadcaster Gerry Ortega while Ecleo for the murder of his wife.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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