HK rights group condemns murder of NPA head’s daughter

Mar. 15, 2009

HK rights group condemns murder of NPA head’s daughter
“Only a government and a military that is desperate and has the highest disregard for human rights will resort to the killing of an innocent and civilian family members of the revolutionary movement. This is appalling and deserves our strongest condemnation.”

This was declared today by Fr. Dwight dela Torre, co-convenor of the Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP). In a picket protest it conducted at the Philippine Consulate General, the group condemned the murder of 20-year old teacher Rebelyn Pitao in Davao, southern Philippines. Pitao is daughter of a commander of the New People’s Army, Leoncio Pitao aka Ka Parago.

“What happened to Rebelyn shows that human rights, justice and even the rule of law are bygone concepts in the country. Does this dastardly action mean that the government’s counter-insurgency drive now covers not only legal activists but also mere family members of those who take up arms against an unjust system? This is insane,” he remarked.

Dela Torre said that the widespread belief that the military was the one behind the crime is not an idle and baseless accusation. He said that it is not beyond the means of the armed forces to resort to the “dirtiest of all tactics” to implement Oplan Bantay-Laya II (Operation Plan Guard Freedom).

“Series of fact-finding missions and reports by reputable groups including the UN itself have concluded the military as behind the spate of killings and enforced disappearances with impunity in the Philippines. It is almost expected for the military to deny Rebelyn’s murder as their as they have denied the hundreds of other cases of human rights abuses. When will this stop and accountability and prosecution really begin?” he asked.

Jackie Hung of the Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese and also co-convenor of HKCAHRPP said that Rebelyn’s case is a “tragedy for human rights” and just shows that the Philippine government will do everything just to crush what they perceive as “enemies of the state” even though they are not combatants in the ongoing civil war in the country.

“It is a violation of all known international instruments governing war and conflict, a blatant disrespect of the civil and political rights of civilians and a vicious attack to women. The international community must not let this incident pass without justice being rendered,” she said.

Hung said that since 2004, HK groups involved with the HKCAHRPP have been actively campaigning against extra-judicial killings, forced disappearance, illegal arrests and other forms of human rights violations in the Philippines. She said that what happened to Rebelyn should translate to exertion of even more pressure to stop these crimes and punish the perpetrators.

“The Arroyo government is almost at an end and what it will leave is a bloody trail of unsolved political killings in the country. At the end of it, Arroyo’s government is indeed accountable for all these human rights violations against the civilian populace,” she concluded. #

For reference: Fr. Dwight dela Torre, (852) 98105070

Jackie Hung(852) 92681803


comments powered by Disqus