BILL TO HOLD PALPARAN, COMMANDING OFFICERS LIABLE FOR KILLINGS, ABDUCTIONS FILED

Women’s partylist group GABRIELA joined Bayan Muna and Anakpawis in filing a bill that seeks to hold military and police superiors accountable for crimes and human rights violations committed by their subordinates.

GABRIELA Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza said, “we are filing HB 3259 or the Command Responsibility Bill, as we commemorate Human Rights Day to address the incessant human rights violations committed by the members of the Armed Forces and the police. It is high time that butchers like Jovito Palparan are held accountable for the killings and abductions of activists, militants and human rights workers and volunteers.”

The GABRIELA solon urged immediate action on the bill stressing that United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston in his report said that the military is in a state of denial concerning the numerous extrajudicial executions in which its soldiers are implicated. Alston’s recommendations include, among others: “Necessary measures should  be taken to ensure that the principle of command responsibility, as it is understood in international law, is a basis for criminal liability within the domestic legal order.”

According to Maza, “There is an impunity with which human rights violations are committed in this country because despite eyewitness accounts and countless evidence, no one has ever been convicted in the cases of killings and abductions involving militants and activists.”

For this year alone, human rights group Karapatan has documented 68 victims of extrajudicial killings and 26 victims of enforced disappearances. “We cannot overemphasize on the urgency of the command responsibility bill as well as that of the anti-enforced disappearances bill. Drastic measures have to be taken to address the human rights crisis under the Arroyo regime.”#

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