"The ghosts of Arroyo's crimes against the people shall haunt her forever"

2006-11-02 - oiwan

Human rights and peace activitists from the HK Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP) held a picket protest against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her murder crimes at Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong today (Nov 2, 2006).

"Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can never hide from the ghosts of the murders and injustices committed to victims of human rights violations. The Filipino people and human rights advocates the world over shall make sure of this." Eman Villanueva, the convenor of HKCAHRPP said.

Holding up pictures of victims of extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations and placards calling for justice to the victims, the protesters said that GMA “should stare at the faces of those killed with impunity in GMA’s total war against those opposed to her policies.”

Human rights violations under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are fast becoming a notorious record. Since she assumed the presidency in 2001, human rights organizations have recorded a total of 743 victims of extrajudicial killings including assassinations, summary executions and massacres. Moreover, 181 people have been forcibly abducted and disappeared with no news up to now of their whereabouts.(Data from September, 2006)

The victims of human rights violations came from diverse backgrounds and sectors. Notable, however, is the fact that many of the victims came from organizations known for their activism and critical stance to various issues such as globalization, trade union rights, peasant struggles, women’s issues and young people’s concerns.

In particular, Villanueva said, the extrajudicial killings, harassments and other human rights abuses are committed against well-meaning civilians and those actively resisting GMA’s flagship plan of changing the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

A most recent murder is the stabbing to death of Bishop Alberto Ramento of Tarlac in the Philippines on the morning of October 3. The bishop was active in human rights and civil liberties issues and earlier in June, he openly denounced the administration’s moves to revise the constitution. During his speech, he proudly announced that during its deliberations, the leadership of the Philippine Independent Church was unanimous in its opposition to charter change.

Villanueva explained that “GMA’s Charter Change is already killing progressives and activists. If it is passed, it will even kill more as GMA will have extended power, dictatorial rule can be easily re-instituted, national patrimony will be sold, and national sovereignty will be trampled.”

The charter change, which had been rejected by the supreme court on October 26, gained its legitimacy from the so-called "people's initiative" petition with 6.3 million signatures. It seeks to replace the bicameral legislature with a unicameral parliament. The people are adamantly told that the charter change is the answer to all their worries and woes, their misery and anxiety. Critics allege the changes are being sought to allow Arroyo to prolong her stay in power.

HKCAHRPP is a network of local organizations and migrant’s groups in Hong Kong. The network will continue to support the International Campaign to Stop the Killings in the Philippines.

(This article is re-written from the Press release of HKCAHPP)

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