Friday, February 16, 2007

Raul Gonzalez' insult against UN Special Rapporteur exemplifies Arroyo government's real stand on the issue of extrajudicial killings

Friday February 16, 2007

Raul Gonzalez' insult against UN Special Rapporteur exemplifies Arroyo government's real stand on the issue of extrajudicial killings; SC special courts instruments to acquit perpetrators

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez' assertion that United Nations Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston has been brainwashed by human rights group brings more shame and embarrassment to the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. He said that Gonzalez has taken a complete leave of his senses – including his sense of decorum and revealed the extent of his uncouthness.

"It's embarrassing how such a ranking official of the government can make such comments about a representative of respected international institution; especially right after Pres. Arroyo herself has said that her government will cooperate fully with Mr. Alston's investigations," Beltran said.

"What kind of cooperation is this government giving to Mr. Alston or to any other members of the international human rights community? Malacanang will simply not acknowledge the findings and recommendations of these concerned individuals and their respective organizations. What Malacanang and the likes of Gonzalez want is absolution; or at the least, for the members of the international community to shut up about the extrajudicial killings in the country," he said.

"Gonzalez is a national embarrassment; and he is liability to the already unpopular Arroyo administration. With the likes of Gonzalez in the Department of Justice and in the presidential cabinet itself, no justice can ever be given the victims of the killings and their families. Gonzalez will relentlessly persist in his campaign to insult, disparage and denigrate all those who demand that Philippine government to address the killings and punish the perpetrators. Pres. Arroyo herself most likely if not silently applauds Gonzalez for his lack of respect and discretion as well as utter rudeness when speaking on the issue of human rights."

In the meantime, the political detainee said that the continuing refusal of Malacanang to make the Melo Commission's report public also exposes the truth that Malacanang really has no intention of genuinely addressing the issue of extrajudicial killings.

"Despite the assertions of human rights groups that the Melo Report essentially covers up Pres. Arroyo's main responsibility over the killings, Malacanang still stubbornly refuses to make the report public. Malacanang is determined to protect itself and its sacred cows among the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) including Jovito Palparan from all culpability. The Melo Commission – just like the courts that the Supreme Court is supposedly intending to establish to hear the cases of the killings – is clearly just a front, something to pacify the international community very much shocked by the worsening human rights situation on the country," he said.

"It is difficult to muster enthusiasm over reports that the Supreme Court wants to put courts to try the cases of extrajudicial killings. We are very justified in suspecting that these courts will only be instruments to dismiss the cases, and secure absolution and acquittal for the perpetrators should any of the families of the victims see it fit to file cases in these courts. These courts are still part and parcel of Pres. Arroyo's pretense that she too shares the concern over the killings. She remains a hypocrite in the eyes of the families of the victims," he said.

"We remain grateful to the members of the international community including Mr. Philip Alston for their objectivity and their willingness to hear the testimonies of the families of the victims and the human rights groups who support them. We hope that the arrogance and insolence of RP officials like Raul Gonzalez will only serve to further convince them that the human rights situation in the Philippines deserves to be given full international attention, and that great diplomatic pressure must be applied to compel the government to put an end to the killings and punish the perpetrators," he concluded.#


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