Pres. Benigno Aquino III will deliver his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23, 2012. He have pledged to end extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations on his previous SONA but until now we the victims, relatives and their friends continue to demand justice.
Two years had passed since he took his position as the President with his campaign slogan “matuwid na daan”, but the persecution of human rights defenders and environmental activist remains unabated, and the killings and abductions go on.
Under his administration, 99 human rights activists were killed, 11 were abducted and remain missing. The human rights violations committed against rights defenders were attributed mainly to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its paramilitary groups yet the government is yet to lift a finger on these abuses at the expense of the grieving families and relatives of the victims.
Aquino remains deaf to the call even from international community and the various local and international human rights watchdog that the killings should stop and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Finding excuses for its inaction, the government has even the temerity to point its fingers against those who are demanding to reprimand its military, for them to prove if it is indeed the military is the one behind the serious human rights abuses when families and witnesses are testifying, even investigations conducted by various human rights organization here and abroad, including the United Nations Special rapporteurs points it finger to the AFP as the main perpetrator.
But not in one instance did the government investigated the military officials and their men accused by the victim in killing, abducting their relatives. The sad part is there is an obvious collusion among various the government agencies to cover up military involvement in the human rights abuses and instead of helping victims get the justice they demanded they were even harassed and persecuted.
Not one, perpetrators were brought to justice. Even the well-known General Jovito Palparan remains at large. Notably, the government pointing its finger to the courts for the slow-paced legal proceedings against the accused is misplaced since it is the victims themselves who are risking their limbs while being harassed and threatened to find witnesses and file cases at the courts despite of the obvious disinterest from police investigators and public prosecutors to pursue the case.
The Aquino government silence on the reigning stare of impunity in the country put an impression that the killings are deliberate and state sponsored terrorism to suppress dissent since most of the victims were first tagged by the government as communists or its supporters before they are killed or forcibly disappeared.
The unabated abuses of the AFP and their henchmen is under its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan that not only aims to suppress the armed uprising by the New People’s Army and Moro Islamic Liberation Front. But unarmed civilians, human rights activists and environment defenders are also targeted since the military doctrine does not delineate among those who are using arms against the state and to those who are just fighting for their rights to live and to protect the environment. In short, when you are either bearing arms against the state, or protesting the massive militarization to pave way for mining interests, works for the better conditions at work place, give land to the tillers, protect the land of the indigenous people, and demand your right for a democratic and sovereign society whether you are a Filipino or foreigner you are an enemy of the state and should be neutralized for whatever means.
Aquino’s SONA according to his spokespersons will be full of surprises. And yes, we are surprised. Considering that Aquino himself a son of a victim of extra judicial killing during Marcos regime is now the head of a government that perpetuates human rights abuses against the Filipino people. Are expecting something good for this year’s SONA? Apparently not since we will show Noynoy what the real Sona ng Bayan is.