Duterte admin's human rights violations 'incomparable, higher' than previous terms: CHR

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2021 10:49 AM

Duterte admin's human rights violations 'incomparable, higher' than previous terms: CHR 1
Relatives of Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) hold a protest in front of the Philippines Army and Police headquarters in Quezon City on July 17, 2019. They are joined by human rights groups as they call for the government to Stop the implementation of its violent drug war operations, citing the many abuses and innocent individuals ending up as victims of these brutal police operations. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The rate and scale of the Duterte administration's human rights violations is "incomparable, higher than other administrations," the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Thursday, as it lamented how police non-cooperation hindered most of their investigations. 

"No particular administration has been spared of human rights violation. Every administration committed its fair share of human rights violation...[but] there never has been a time we have been so overwhelmed with the number of cases we are handling right now," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said on ANC's Headstart. 

The CHR's remark came after a drunk policeman in Quezon City shot dead his elderly neighbor while off-duty. The crime was caught on video and has since gone viral on social media.

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has vowed for the policeman's dismissal.

The CHR is also investigating the death of Edwin Arnigo, a man with autism, who was supposedly killed in a police raid on an illegal cockfighting site in Valenzuela.

President Rodrigo Duterte's statements on protecting policemen and military also "encourage and embolden" abuse, De Guia said.

"He’s the most influential official in the country. Words matter. We have repeatedly said he's very influential to his constituents even to government officials under him and therefore we would want the highest-ranking official to encourage accountability and to make sure the justice system is working not only for a select few but for everyone," she said.

The commission is investigating 3,295 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings, and slays of journalists, lawyers, judges, and activists, De Guia said. The CHR welcomes the justice department's promise to engage with the rights body on investigating EJKs, she said.

Police's non-cooperation remained the biggest challenge in investigating the government's alleged human rights violations, de Guia added. 

"If public officials are helping together, they will also feel encouraged to file cases and they will overcome their fear," she said. 

"The non-cooperation of the police is still an insurmountable challenge, the climate of fear that pervades or grips the witnesses as well as kin of surviving family are just some of the factors that impeded us in an effective investigation."

The CHR gives a cash assistance of up to P30,000 to encourage victims' families to pursue justice, added De Guia.

"This is a small amount but the message we wish to convey is recognition of government that a wrong has been committed and we want you to pursue justice," she said.

Watch more on iWantTFC