The US-backed Aquino regime stands trial for crimes against the Filipino people as organizations led by Karapatan, Manilakbayan, Bayan, and Defend-Southern Tagalog gather to commemorate the International Human Rights Day.
“The witnesses are the victims of human rights violations or their kin. Their testimonies are their own harrowing experiences under the US-Aquino regime. Today, they will declare the verdict on the US-Aquino regime’s crime against the Filipino people, its violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. For these crimes, we say, the US-Aquino regime is guilty,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.
Karapatan enumerated a number of these crimes:
· BS Aquino paid no heed to the demands of the Manilakbayan contingent, mostly peasants and indigenous peoples, to pull out the 55 battalions of AFP combat troops in Mindanao that implement Oplan Bayanihan and protect big foreign mining corporations and plantations, which plunder the country’s resources.
· The 226 victims of extrajudicial killings—84 of them are from Mindanao; 136 are peasants, and 54 are indigenous peoples. There are also 225 victims of frustrated killings. What is more alarming is the manner by which a number of victims were killed. To date, there are 15 victims of extrajudicial killing who were brutally slain, involving individuals who were tortured to death, beheaded, hogtied and dumped in a shallow grave.
· There are more than 145,000 victims of the AFP’s use of, and encampment in, schools, medical, religious and other public places for military purpose. Most of the documented cases are in Mindanao.
· BS Aquino regime used trumped-up criminal charges against activists and community leaders to silence them and quell protests against government policies and projects that attack their communities. There are 491 political prisoners, most of them falsely charged with criminal offenses.
· Millions of people’s money were used by Voltaire Gazmin’s Department of National Defense and Mar Roxas’s Department of Interior and Local Governments as bounty for “communist leaders” in their Order of Battle (OB). The practice has victimized civilians who are jailed by insisting they are the persons whose names appeared in their OB list. For 2014 alone, Gazmin and Roxas’s departments gave away Php 51.2 million to “informers” as reward money.
· While mouthing slogans of peace, BS Aquino continues to stand in the way of peace. It refuses to seriously face the National Democratic Front of the Philippines at the negotiating table, disregards previously signed agreements and reneges on its commitment to release “all, if not most” of political prisoners. It has not ceased to arrest and detain NDFP peace consultants. There are currently 14 NDFP detained consultants who are protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
· The violation of rules of engagement and international humanitarian law against the civilians and the seven members of the New People’s Army in a Northern Luzon Command-led military operation in Lacub, Abra on September 3-6. Recca Noelle Monte was killed without any gunshot, and Arnold Jaramillo’s body was riddled with bullets. The two, with five other NPA members Brandon Magranga, Ricardo Reyes, Pedring Banggao, Robert Beyao and Roberto Perez were tortured, willfully killed and their remains desecrated.
· The BS Aquino regime isguilty of treason for the US re-occupation of the Philippines and the sell-out of the country’s sovereignty through the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.The BS Aquino regime isguilty for the systematic human rights violations perpetrated under the Oplan Bayanihan, and directed by the US through its Counterinsurgency Guide of 2009.
Palabay said, “The victims of typhoons Yolanda and Ruby taught us not to depend on the government that is unreliable and useless; that our safety and well-being rest in our own hands and in our collective power. We can apply this lesson in dealing with our miserable situation under the US-Aquino regime.”
In its more than four years in power, Palabay said, the “BS Aquino regime has done nothing but exaggerate the actions it has taken supposedly to address human rights violations; or ignore as baseless or propaganda the complaints of violations against his regime. He calls the people’s protests against human rights violations as heckling, hooliganism or vandalism.”
These cases will also be brought before the international community through the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) on the Crimes of the US-Aquino Government Against the Filipino Peoplebeing organized by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) and other international groups, in July 2015. “We call on the international community to support the Filipino people’s voices at the IPT,” said Palabay.
“In the end, because the US-Aquino regime does not uphold and protect our individual and collective rights, it is also our right as a people to kick out a president that has only served well the corrupt bureaucracy, his own landlord class and his master, the US imperialism. Thus, we say: US-Aquino regime,papanagutin, palayasin,” ended Palabay.