Press Release
August 1, 2006

Senator says intl fact finding body finds RP human rights record alarming

Troubled by the findings of an international body that the countrys human rights record is alarming, Senator Bong Revilla today asked concerned government agencies to immediately map up plan of actions to counter the escalating incidence of political killings in the country. Revilla said authorities should be on their toes especially now that new incidents of killings of political activists and journalists last week and yesterday respectively add to the growing statistics of slain newsmen and activists.

Earlier last month, the International Fact Finding Mission (IFFM), an international group of human rights advocates in Europe, sent its delegates to the country to investigate the violence committed against lawyers and judges. Since March 2005, nine lawyers and one judge were killed. Likewise, lawyers and judges are increasingly victims of serious harassment and intimidation. For a period of two weeks, the IFFM went around the country interviewing families of and witnesses to slain lawyers, judges, journalists and political activists.

In its findings, IFFM concluded that the escalating number of human rights violation in the country is alarming that it creates a growing international concern. Further, the body found the following: a remarkable number of lawyers and judges killed has been involved in human-related cases), witnesses are afraid to testify for fear of their lives), no killers to this date have been convicted) and no authorities have provided satisfactory information with respect to the very slow handling of the cases.

Revilla said authorities such as the PNP, the AFP, NBI, DILG and DOJ should immediately pool their resources and efforts together to institute policy measures to solve and end the growing number of wanton killings against lawyers, judges, journalist and political activists, not as a rejoinder to the IFFM findings, but as an act of responsibility to its people. The government should take full responsibility by initiating actions to solve these murder cases and thereby assure the freedom and safety of very individual in the practice of their professions.

The senator said the government should immediately put its measures in place and not wait for the IFFM report to be magnified in the international stage. The IFFM said that there should be no doubts that their findings will be promptly brought to the attention of the international media, the European Union and the United Nations.

We dont need another unwanted attention towards the country especially since we are bidding for tourism and trade competitiveness. If the home front seems unsafe for its inhabitants, how can we attract investors and visitors? Revilla enthused.

He said authorities should anchor their actions on the Presidents SONA condemning political and extra-judicial executions in the harshest possible terms. The term is pro-active, the chief executive has said it, its time we in the business of governance put this into action.

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