December 13, 2006: Wednesday
Undermining the right to life…
Charmaine Danica Aguila
It was stated in our constitution under Article 3 Sec. 1 that: No person shall be deprived
of life, liberty and property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the
equal protections of the laws.
Extrajudicial killing is not new to us. During the dark years of the martial law under the
administration of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, it has been used as an effective
tool to silence the opposition, preventing mass movement through killing its leaders and
some activists and to suppress the media from exposing the truth.
I believe that the right to life and dignity is an inalienable right of everyone. But with
the increasing number of extrajudicial killings today can we say that this right is being
After the martial law we thought that extrajudicial killing is over but despite the fact
that we are not experiencing martial law today, extrajudicial killing remains unabated.
Under Arroyo’s administration the right to life that I have mentioned above has been
During the first half of 2006, leaders and members of organizations like Bayan
Muna, Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), Anak Pawis etc. have been widely executed.
“Marlene Esperat, a columnist, was shot by two gunmen in her home. She was known for her
corruption reporting and harsh criticism of the Department of Agriculture.”
“Klein Canteros, whose radio program frequently features the alleged corruption of Mindanao
local officials and illegal gambling, was shot seven times.”
These incidents have earned the Philippines the label of being the “2nd most
dangerous country” for journalist next to Iraq. These people who are well-known for exposing
corruption and scandal are killed by unknown gunmen.
Even church or religious leaders have not been spared from extrajudicial killings. Some of
the victims are Rev. Jeremias Tinambacan and Pastor Andy Pawikan.
Does history repeats itself? Since the year 2001 there are 766 killings that
took place in the whole archipelago. Despite the creation of Task Force Usig and Melo
Commission (to probe the killings of media men and activists) extrajudicial killings was
unabated and justice was not served for the victims and their families.
The government has utterly failed to comply with their obligation regarding human rights. I
am calling the governments attention to double their efforts in preventing extrajudicial
killing.Our country needs a credible policy to stop all of this!!!