Many of us were hoping that, with the advent of a new administration, there will come change. Despite our cynicisms, our hopes were high when former CHR head Leila de Lima was pronounced to head the Department of Justice amongst all the other questionable appointments. Then we were greeted with the first media killing under the Aquino III administration. And then the first political killing from the ranks of Bayan Muna.
And then from Anakpawis. And then, fresh from the tweets of education activists, from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers. Is this the “daang matuwid”, the virtuous path that the Yellow Fever has promised?
A total of 4 extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in just 2 weeks of rule. Already we are seeing what progressives have warned all along: no qualitative change from the atrocious human rights policies of the previous and infamous president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. According to Karapatan’s 2009 human rights situationer, GMA’s regime saw 1,188 EJKs in her 9-year rule, averaging at 132 killings a year. The computed current EJK rate under Noynoy is at a projected 96 killings a year.
The rate being lower than the previous regime is not a feat. Once a tragedy, twice a farce, as they say, and already the atrocity of political killings has struck more than once. The fact that the spate of killings inextricably linked to the standing AFP policy of liquidating suspected belligerents continues into the new regime is already a manifestation that Aquino is unable to control the Philippines’ worst violator of human rights. As of this writing, the president has yet to release a serious statement condemning these violations.
If something as basic as Human Rights is grossly ignored in the Philippines despite the promises of reform, what more can we expect for other equally salient concerns? The most important issue of Land Reform was met with a violent dispersal of camping farmers. What more for our calls of national industrialization? For the defense of our national patrimony?
There should definitely be no “Honeymoon” when it comes to demanding for social justice in the Philippines. For over 5 decades, the same excuse has been harped. Frankly, I’m not enthusiastic about 5 more decades of lies that cost lives.
UPDATE: the reported killing of an ACT member in Masbate actually had 2 victims. Also, this just in: another ACT member was killed today in Bataan. Which brings the total EJKs to 6, giving Noynoy’s regime an EJK rate of 144 killings/year over just 2 weeks, higher than GMA’s rate over 9 years.