A few weeks before BS Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA), the International People’s Tribunal held in Washington, DC, found the Aquino regime guilty of violations of the Filipino people’s Civil and Political Rights, Economic and Socio-Cultural Rights; and Right to Self-Determination. The same guilty verdict was handed down to the US government, which is “equally liable with Defendant Aquino for these gross human rights violations.”
“We welcome the guilty verdict by the IPT especially in the light of BS Aquino’s scheduled SONA, which we expect as his last ditch effort to cover-up his crimes against the Filipino people with his usual lies,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.
Karapatan was among the complainants, which filed cases of violations of civil and political rights. Other complainants were the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, Hustisya, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Selda, Desaparecidos, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Migrante, Kadamay, Gabriela, Kalikasan, Bayan Muna. Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez testified at the IPT as the expert witness on the overall human rights situation in Philippines.
The prosecution presented 34 cases of rights violations through 32 witnesses, 17 of whom went to Washington, DC; while 10 who remained in Manila were presented through live internet stream.
The tribunal’s jurors, headed by prominent US human rights attorney Azadeh Shahshahani, concluded that the “evidence complied with the evidentiary requirements, and that these evidences clearly established the factual basis of the Indictment, and the culpability of respondents Defendant Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Defendant Government of the United States of America.”
“The Defendants, in concert with each other, willfully and feloniously committed gross and systematic violations of Filipino people’s basic human rights,” said the Tribunal.
Other jurors in the tribunal were Rev. Dr. Molefe Tsele, a former South African ambassador, Mary Boyd, Atty. Camilo Perez-Bustillo, Pao-Yu Ching, Rev. Malcolm Damon, and Rev. Michael Yoshii.
The tribunal said the cases of rights violations “are not random violations” but constitute a clear pattern, especially in the context of the government’s implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, which is “implemented with the assistance of the Defendant Government of the U.S.”
Copies of the Verdict is set to be delivered at the White House and the US State Department by rights and peace groups in the US; and in Malacañang through a rally led by Bayan and Karapatan.
Political prisoners’ pre-SONA activity
To culminate today’s rally at Mendiola, relatives and friends of political prisoners led the demonstrators in singing “Bayan Ko”, in solidarity with the political prisoners who will do the same inside jails at 12:00 noon. The singing of “Bayan Ko” by political prisoners in various jails nationwide kicks-off their week long activity leading to BS Aquino’s SONA. On July 27, political prisoners will lead discussions in detention centers as alternative to Aquino’s SONA.