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End Impunity, End Violence Against Women, Prosecute GMA for Human Rights Violations and Plunder Now
Press Release Posted on November 21st, 2011.
Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus today led women victims of violence, human rights violation and state persecution in calling for the prosecution of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for cases of plunder and human rights violations.
“We demand the immediate prosecution of Mrs. Arroyo and hold her accountable for the human rights violations committed during her term. We demand that President Benigno Aquino III facilitate the prompt and expeditious handling of these cases. His failure to do so will make him an accessory to the impunity and violence perpetrated by the Arroyo regime.”
Rep. Luz Ilagan who hails from Mindanao said that two years after the death of 58 women and men, including 32 journalists in the Ampatuan Massacre, 103 of the 196 suspects have not been arrested and only two of the principal suspects have been arraigned.
“We decry the lack of accountability. We decry the injustice. In a criminal offense as gruesome and as condemnable as the Ampatuan Massacre, the failure of government institutions to expedite justice allows impunity to continue. It is not surprising that the killing of journalists and activists persist under the Aquino administration,” said Ilagan.
For her part, Rep. Emmi de Jesus said that the violence and persecution that women endured under the regime of the country’s second woman President cannot be underscored enough. “Let us not forget Eden Marcellana, Benjaline Hernandez, Liliosa Posa, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno. Let us not forget the thousands of human rights workers, indigenous people, women, children, students, and journalists, who were victims of her extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.”
Citing data from Karapatan, the Gabriela solons noted that under Mrs. Arroyo’s regime there were 1208 cases of extra judicial killings, 206 cases of enforced disappearances and 1099 cases of torure.
“Gabriela Women’s Party calls on President Aquino to remain firm and not be swayed by any legal processes that the Arroyo camp will press. Instead, he should now file the plunder cases and human rights violations cases against Gloria Arroyo. He should ensure that Mrs. Arroyo be jailed, stay in jail and be punished for all the sins she committed against the Filipino people”
The Gabriela representatives were joined by Angie Ipong, 67, illegally arrested, manhandled and tortured in March 8, 2005; Mercy Castro of the Morong 43 who was denied health services despite her difficult pregnancy in jail and families of Ampatuan Massacre victims. Ipong and Castro decried the special treatment being given the former President.
“The callousness with which we were treated is a far cry from the treatment that Mrs. Arroyo is getting. We were denied medical services and we were subjected to torture and humiliation.”
The women held the press conference in commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre and the International Day to End Impunity tomorrow, November 23 and the commemoration of the International Day to End Violence Against Women on November 25.