Akbayan party list today said the secret detention cell discovered at a Manila Police District precinct is only part of a growing culture of police brutality, with a few policemen acting with impunity undermining the work of the other reformists and law-abiding policemen.
"Rotten cops in the PNP ranks have been discovered to moonlight as riding-in-tandem killers in Mindoro, some have been implicated in the murder of Albuera Mayor Espinosa, and some were involved in the killing of three handcuffed suspects in an alleged shootout in Quezon City last August 2016, among others," explained Machris Cabreros, Akbayan President.
"Yet no serious clampdown has been undertaken to make these police officers accountable, with PNP Chief Bato de la Rosa even making excuses for the MPD station," lamented Cabreros. "de la Rosa should explain how such an incident could happen under his supervision, as well as other documented excesses under his leadership."
I invite the public to take note of the recent filing of a complaint that seeks to charge President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and 11 other government officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity. Everyone must study the matter closely.
I personally consider this as an important step towards strengthening the rule of law: one, in terms of holding the individuals concerned accountable for their actions, words and inactions; and two, in terms of subjecting the current approach to drug abuse – Mr. Duterte’s so-called “War on Drugs” – to a thorough and objective judicial review. The case raises transcendental legal and policy issues, and it is our duty as stakeholders to examine these issues with close and critical scrutiny.
Having said this, I would emphasize that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an international tribunal whose mandate, jurisdiction and procedures are governed exclusively by a treaty called the Rome Statute. The Philippines ratified this treaty in 2011 through the skillful advocacy of civil society organizations led by the Philippine Coalition for the International Court (PCICC) in partnership with the Presidential Human Rights Committee and the Commission on Human Rights which I chaired then, as well as reform-minded leaders in Congress and the Security Sector.
The ICC case against Duterte is only the latest symptom of the continued call for accountability that this administration continues to evade. Populist acceptance is not an excuse to stand by while the killings continue.
We support all legal and Constitutional means to exact accountability from the President in his continuing policy of advocating murder in his campaign against drugs.
This government has seemingly closed all avenues to do this, and the ICC is a last resort against this government's inaction over the 8,000 deaths reported so far.
We dare the President to account for the words he has said instead of relying on his spin masters to twist the truths of what he has publicly stated: he condones the employment of violence against drug suspects.
The Filipino people need to understand that the Philippines is part of a global family of countries to which we have committed to respect the rule of law and human rights.
As a signatory to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC and adopting this through RA 9851, the Philippines recognizes the legitimacy of the ICC's authority. When our own government is unable and unwilling to shield its own citizens from harm by acts of omission and commission, that same community of civilized nations has a responsibility to protect us from our worst impulses.
And the impulse in question before the ICC is the consent and exhortation that Duterte has given, quite explicitly, to the murder of our own citizens and the culture of impunity that allows for the dead bodies to pile up: promising pardon for police forces, killing as jobs for displaced OFWs, promotion for controversial police officers involved in extra judicial killings etc.
Akbayan wonders if President Duterte is obsessed with death and turning the entire Philippines into a graveyard. Arming civilians to combat professional terrorists like the Abu Sayyaf is a surefire way of promoting violence and unmitigated bloodbath all over the country.
Spokesperson Abella's verbal acrobatics denying the president's statement as a policy is belied by Duterte's use of the word pardon, betraying the weight that these words carry with government institutions, such as the police, which has been implicated in the thousands of extra judicial killings as a result of Duterte's drug campaign.
The only was to defeat the Abu Sayyaf is to reverse the political marginalization of the Bangsamoro, bring development to the remote villages of Mindanao & realize inclusive growth, empower citizens & build solidarity among the peoples of the region. It is tedious and long-term, but that's the nature of governing.
Spokesperson Abella would make better use of his time as a close aide to President Duterte by reminding his principal that the country elected a president, not a serial killer, to lead the country.
Almost one year into his term, this administration has only boasted of reaping the low lying fruits of previous administrations' efforts. It has no distinct achievement of its own. Instead things have gone back to the days when plunderers dined on the same table together, while the poor literally die on the street gunned down by unknown assailants.
This is not change. This is carnage, while Duterte and the oligarchs are having cake.
Akbayan today expressed disappointment at the SC dismissal of the plunder case over the misuse of PCSO funds against former President GMA.
"This plunder case represented the only real opportunity to thresh out the crimes that were committed under GMA's administration, and we believe there were plenty," said Akbayan President Machris Cabreros.
"GMA is suffering from delusions of victimhood if she claims this is a vindication," added Cabreros. "Her claimed vindication mocks the letter of the law as she knows what she did -- she plundered public coffers to ensure her political survival."
"Her innocence is only as believable as the conspicuously absent neckbrace she used to wear," teased Cabreros.
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