P-Noy urged to end legacy of Martial Law
On the eve of the commemoration of the declaration of Martial law, human rights group, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) urged Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III to end the dark legacy of Martial Law.
The AFAD, a regional federation of organizations working directly on the issue of enforced disappearances in the Asian region, in its statement recalled that thirty eight-years after the declaration of martial rule, human rights are not only grossly ignored but continuously violated with brazen impunity despite the promises of reforms from the administrations succeeding Marcos.
“Even with the advent of the new administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, political killings and enforced disappearances continue unabated.” The AFAD statement, signed by Chairperson Mugiyanto and Secretary-General Bacalso said.
More than ten thousand people are proven to have fallen victims to illegal arrest, arbitrary detention, torture, disappearance or summary execution during the martial law era.
AFAD expresses disappointment not only for the new administration’s lack of clear human rights agenda but also for its decision to continue the previous government’s counter-insurgency program called “Oplan Bantay Laya” which UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Philip Alston identified in his 2007 report as one of the primary causes of the sudden spate of killings and enforced disappearances in the country that started in 2007.
Moreover, the Federation and the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) still continue to wait for the much-sought-for appointment with the president, to discuss the past and continuing cases of enforced disappearances and the imperative to both enact into law national bill criminalizing enforced disappearances and to sign and ratify the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance without further delay.
AFAD reminded President Aquino that this is the very reason why his parents valiantly fought against the Marcos dictatorship which made his family the number one victim of Martial Law. It further warned the president that any dealing with the former dictator’s family will be construed as an offer of exoneration that adds more insult to injury to more than ten thousand martial law victims who until now still await for justice and reparation.
“It so hurts the public eye and demeans our country’s dignity to see the president kissing the cheek of former First Lady Imelda Marcos during the recent birthday bash of Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay. Disgustingly, the gesture appeared more of an offer of exoneration than just mere civility, “ the statement added.
AFAD reiterated that the new administration cannot ignore its innate responsibility for the past and present human rights violations. It believes that his election to the Presidency is the concrete expression of the strong desire of the Filipino people to obliterate all remnants of the dark legacy of Martial Law.
“President Aquino is not anymore a child of the past but supposedly the father of the present and the future. This is he owes not only to his family but to all Filipino people,,” the statement concluded.
Darwin B. Mendiola
Philippine Project Advocacy Officer
Tel No. 927-4594
Mobile No. 09084826575