THIS time, the Yellows are repeatedly lambasting the Duterte administration for the series of arrests by the police and military of Communist insurgents in Negros and elsewhere in the countryside and urban centers, the same way they cleverly subjected the Marcos regime for its unfounded human-rights violations in a relentless effort to divert public attention.
Hidden from the general public, President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino’s regime, which led the Yellow followers, actually painted a gruesome picture of human-rights violations in the form of warrantless arrests and detention reaching an alarming level of 15,999 and extrajudicial executions with 1,733 cases, including 189 that occurred in 1990 alone.
The records in Congress, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFD) showed 335 cases of disappearances and 146 cases of massacres, which happened between March 1, 1986 and 1991, including the infamous Mendiola carnage that claimed the lives of 12 farmers who protested against the takeover of Hacienda Luisita and her defective agrarian reform policy in front of the presidential palace’s main gate on Mendiola.
In reaction to the Mendiola carnage, Philippine Human Rights Commissioners JBL Reyes, Jose Diokno, Zenaida Avacena and Mariani Dimaranan all resigned.
President Aquino’s human-rights records also revealed that from 1986 to 1990, a total of 71,111 families, 23,424 individuals, 229 barangays, and 207 sitios (small villages) were affected by 464 cases of forced evacuations; 20 cases of hamletting, which affected 2,306 individuals and 1,675 families; and 23 cases of economic and food blockades, affecting 8,925 families and 427 individuals in 36 barangays in the countryside. Of the 8,925 families affected, 4,024 were victimized in 1990.
In addition, 34 journalists who exposed graft and corruption and other venalities in her government were murdered and many others were persecuted while in the legitimate pursuit of their profession. In Fidel V. Ramos’s six-year in office, 18 journalists were slain, for a total of 52 post-Edsa casualties.
Of the 52, six were killed in Metro Manila, including two that were caught in the crossfire in the 1987 coup attempt; 22 were slain in Mindanao, five in Cotabato City, three each in the cities of Zamboanga, Davao and Iligan, two each in Surigao and General Santos cities, and one each in Dipolog, Ozamis, Basilan and Davao del Norte; 13 in Luzon (outside Metro Manila), three in Laguna, two each in Cagayan, Pangasinan, Isabela, Cavite and Lucena City; and 11 in the Visayas, including three in Cebu City, two in Iloilo and one in Tacloban.
Only a few of these killings had been solved and, ironically, none of the cause-oriented groups that accused Marcos, and later presidents Ramos and Joseph Estrada, of stifling freedom of the press and of violating human rights, had created even just a whimper of protest against Aquino.
The late journalist Renato Constantino, the late Louie Beltran of the Philippine Star, Melinda Liu of Newsweek, Catherine Manegold and Luisa Torregosa of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bill Branigin of The Washington Post, Tom Breen of The Washington Times, Seth Mydan of The New York Times, Rigoberto Tiglao of the Far East Economic Review and Luis Teodoro of The Manila Times had extensively written articles on the Aquino human-rights violations.
Many human-rights groups either turned a blind eye or obfuscated the issue in favor of the Aquino regime.
The reported human-rights violations could be more as other incidents committed by the military, the communists and the secessionists were not documented at all.
In Ferdinand E. Marcos’s 14 years of martial rule, by comparison, only 32 journalists were killed in the line of duty.
TFD, a nongovernment organization composed mainly of dedicated nuns and laymen, reported to Congress that between 1977 and before the Edsa mutiny in 1986, there were a total of 21,893 warrantless arrests, 2,658 cases of extrajudicial executions, and 791 disappearances.
The TFD considered as human- rights violations those acts which were violative of certain rights defined by international norms (e.g., arbitrary killing, taking one’s property, etc.) which were committed due to political motives by government authorities or by any persons acting in their behalf.
Reflecting the sentiment of the military, the organization that was often blamed for human-rights violations, retired Maj. Gen. Maria Jose Solguillo, then-chief of the Southern Luzon Command, said in a dialogue with HRC officials: “When the military hit and arrest communists guerrillas, it was human-rights violations; when the guerrillas hit and ambushed the soldiers, it was all right.”
Solguillo told this writer in an interview that the investigation of human-rights violation by the HRC, the agency created by Aquino, was always lopsided against the military as if human rights were not also the concern of soldiers, their wives and their orphans.
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