Hullabaloo about Chief Justice Conviction Diverts Attention from Outstanding Rights Impunity
GENEVA – Filipino activists, Geneva-based migrants, and representatives from international NGOs conducted a picket-protest in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland to express their criticism of the Philippine government report immediately after the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council last Tuesday, tagging the report as ‘selective,’ with the PH government drowning their dismal compliance to international human rights instruments with their so-called achievements.”
The Philippine UPR Watch delegation in Geneva said “the GPH report failed to mention that state authorities have yet to arrest several notorious human rights violators such as Maj. General Jovito Palparan, while there is much gloating on the enactment of few local legislation and ratifications of some international instruments.”
“Palparan’s continued evasion of arrest and mockery of justice exemplifies the prevalent climate of impunity. This is probably the reason why the GPH failed to mention this important fact — to gloss over the non-existence of justice for victims of human rights violations in the country and the continuing spate of rights abuses,” stated Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Karapatan and member of the Philippine UPR watch delegation in Geneva.
Present during the picket were Fiipino-American activist and torture and disappearance survivor Melissa Roxas and Aklan municipal councilor Ernan Baldomero, son of slain councilor Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino administration.
Leaders from Karapatan, NCCP, Tanggol Bayi, NUPL, Bayan, KAMP, MCPA-Kawagib, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Defend Job Philippines, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Promotion of Church People’s Response, IFI-Ramento Project for Rights Defenders, Migrante International, Peace for Life, International Coordinating Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP) and Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines-United Kingdom and CHRP-Switzerland also attended the picket in full view of diplomats, pedestrians and tourists.
In a post-UPR forum at the World Council of Churches today, Atty. Edre Olalia, Secretary General of the National Union of People’s Lawyers and member of the Philippine UPR watch delegation, said that “it is totally unacceptable that with all the powers, resources and machinery of the government, Gen. Palparan, remains out there. If President Aquino has thrown all his weight, power and supposed popularity to make dead sure that Chief Justice Corona is convicted at all costs, why can’t he do the same thing to bring behind bars the poster boy of the most horrendous kinds of human rights violations?”
Olalia pointed out that “more than the rightful conviction of the Chief Justice for valid charges, the immediate arrest, speedy prosecution and certain punishment of remorseless and incorrigible human rights violators would inspire greater interest and create lasting impact to the international community more than the hullabaloo and inordinate fixation on the impeachment trial.”
The Philippine UPR Watch delegation noted that the “breaking-news” glowing announcement by the Philippine government that the Chief Justice was convicted ostensibly for corruption was met with muted disinterest and lethargic reaction at the UN Human Rights Council floor. ###