Monday, April 16, 2007

Commission on Human Rights must keep cases against Palparan open so long as justice is not given to the victims

Wednesday March 21, 2007

Commission on Human Rights must keep cases against Palparan open so long as justice is not given to the victims

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today decried the declaration of a

Commission on Human Rights fact-finding mission that there is no direct evidence linking Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan and other officers under his command to the series of extrajudicial killings in Central Luzon when Palparan was stationed there as regional military commander. Commissioner Eligio Mallari iIn a 20-page resolution recommended that the cases filed by human rights groups against Palparan and other officers of the 7th Infantry Division be dismissed in the absence of prima facie evidence.

"Two decades after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, everyone save for members of the Marcos family acknowledges that Marcos was the mastermind behind abduction, torture and cold-blooded execution of thousands of civilians. It's highly unlikely that Marcos himself took a gun to shoot the victims, but he ordered the crackdown against political activists and critics of his administration. Nobody contests that Marcos was the over-all perpetrator in all the human rights violations and extrajudicial killings of activists that took place under his regime."

"The same logic should also apply to Jovito Palparan. He was the one who put together the initial blueprint and formula for Oplan Bantay Laya, and the soldiers under his command obeyed him. He may not have actually shot any of the victims, but he had direct knowledge of how and why they were killed because he ordered their executions," he said. "Palparan's public and media declarations justifying the execution of human rights advocates, members of the progressive party-lists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women's Party and members of people's organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) are well documented."

Beltran said that the Commission on Human Rights may well be under pressure from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to absolve Palparan. He said that the CHR would be bringing shame to itself and endangering its own credibility if it bows to this pressure .

"We still hope that the CHR will take a firmer stand on this issue of extrajudicial killings and not be afraid of Palparan or the AFP. It is understandable if members of the CHR fact-finding mission in Central Luzon are in fear for their own lives if they declare Palparan criminally liable for the killings; but as human right workers, they have the duty and responsibility to seek justice for the victims of the killings," he said.

"The CHR should not dismiss the cases against Palparan because none of the extrajudicial killings perpetrated in Central Luzon under his watch have been given justice and proper resolution. These are unsolved cases, and the perpetrators are still at large. So long as justice has not been given the victims and their families, the CHR must keep these cases open and under investigation," he concluded.#


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