The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights) said that human rights violations in the country are expected to heighten with the assuming of former Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales as chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
“Rosales acts like a military spokesperson when she accuses legal-democratic activists as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), thus, the people cannot expect any protection of human rights from her and her office,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka co-convenor.
The groups reported that Rosales is consistent that legal and democratic people’s organizations are fronts of the CPP-NPA and she discusses this militaristic line of thought at venues such as forums. The groups is pointing out that Rosales herself accused leaders of people’s organizations as “high-ranking leaders of the CPP-NPA.”
“Rosales spoke at a forum ‘Human Rights in the Aquino administration’ organized by the Asia Foundation and the British Embassy last July 22, 2010. She accused one of our leaders, Randall Echanis, Deputy Secretary-General for External Affairs as a ‘high-ranking leader of the CPP-NPA.’ She is no different to those military officials who lead the crackdown against activists, particularly on the peasant movement who lead the struggle for genuine land reform,” said Flores.
The groups said that Lita Mariano, a leader from Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women who attended the said forum, heard Rosales saying “there are cases wherein high ranking officials of the CPP-NPA were hiding in legal organizations such as Randy Echanis who happens to be also the leader of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.” Mariano relayed Rosales statement to KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka.
KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka said that based on Rosales ideology, activists in the country are doomed to be victims of human rights abuses with the CHR promoting it. Rosales failed to grasp the human rights aspect on the very case of Echanis, worse, she is intensifying the basis of the military to harass more activists.
The groups added that Rosales exposed herself ignorant of the International Humanitarian Law as she affirms that non-state agents are also liable of human rights violations, pinning down the New People’s Army (NPA). Rosales does not even know that she is actually insinuating the belligerent status of the NPA by claiming that the group is capable of committing human rights violations. By insisting it, she exposes the clear violations of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) particularly of international agreements and conventions on the protection of human rights and civil wars.
Flores also said that Rosales has no inclination to implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and GRP’s peace panels as she is firm on the accusation that members of the CPP-NPA are “hiding” within legal and democratic people’s organizations.
The groups also said that Rosales is poles apart from former CHR Chair Leila De Lima, now justice secretary. De Lima at least insulates herself of the political aspect of the case but focused on the very case, detailing actual human rights abuses committed by the military. Rosales on the other hand, premeditatedly declares herself as a “anti-Left,” a supporter of the military’s attack on the legal and democratic people’s movement.
“The very proof of Rosales’ anti-human rights and militaristic stances was her lenience on the extension of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) and her participation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines ‘brainstorming’ on drafting a new counter-insurgency plan. We expect that under office, no military nor police would be reprimanded,” Flores said.
The groups condemn Rosales and AFP’s move and their attitude as if a counter-insurgency program does not risk the lives of millions of Filipinos. The groups said that there is no counter-insurgency program in history of the country and the world without human rights violations. They affirmed that the root causes of the armed conflict should be resolve instead of repressing the people’s struggle for genuine land reform, democracy and sovereignty.
“They treat OBL as if it did not wreaked havoc on the lives of Filipinos, it seemed as ‘OBL had its flaws, we should replace it,’ At these early, Rosales showed herself as ally of the military in repressing the people who struggle,” Flores.
The groups oppose the chairmanship of Rosales as this would promote more rights abuses and injustice and called for her immediate replacement with an official who would truly fight for justice and human rights. #