July 20, 2010
Families and victims of human rights violations under the banner of Hustisya (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice) will join various sectors and people’s organizations in the SONA rally on Monday, as they continuously call for justice and an end to extrajudicial killings.
According to Evangeline Hernandez, Hustisya convenor and spokesperson, “If Pres. Noynoy Aquino will truly be ‘straightforward’ in his first SONAaccording to Malacañang, we demand no less than a straightforward solution to end extrajudicial killings,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez is the mother of slain activist and human rights worker Benjaline Hernandez, who was massacred together with other human rights workers by military forces in Mindanao while on a fact-finding mission in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato. Benjaline was also member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.
To do this, according to Hustisya, the Aquino administration should immediately dismantle Oplan Bantay Laya, and all mechanisms that legitimized the killing of 1,206 individuals and the abductions and enforced disappearance of 206 victims.
“Until Oplan Bantay Laya is junked and not another counter-insurgency program is implemented, we have yet to see that extrajudicial killings are not a policy of the Aquino administration,” Hernandez explained.
Under Arroyo’s OBL, state forces did not make any distinction between armed and unarmed civilians. “For the victims’ families, the OBL haunts like a nightmare of the bloody record of Arroyo. We do not want to wake up from the same nightmare, with not a single string of justice given to the victims,” Hernandez said.
Hustisya also called for justice for the recent spate of killings since Aquino took oath, and reminded him not to make hasty remarks on the recent spate of killings, based on the Philippine National Police’s reports that such killings arouse from “personal conflicts.”
“Please show a little sensitivity especially for the victims’ families. If Aquino is truly sincere and serious in solving the killings, the least person to make such remarks is himself,” Hernandez said.
Over the past two weeks since Aquino took oath as president, there have been three cases of extrajudicial killings in different provinces. Killed were Bayan Muna provincial coordinator in Aklan Fernando Baldomero, peasant leader Pascual Guevarra of Nueva Ecija and ACT Teacher’s Partylist member Mark Francisco in Masbate.
Evangeline Hernandez, Spokesperson and Convenor, HUSTISYA