Palace belittles NDF “indictment” of Aquino, etal on Kidapawan bloody dispersal
Malacanang slammed on Sunday the communist National Democratic Front for ordering the arrest of former President Benigno Aquino III and other government officials for the bloody dispersal of protesting farmers along a highway in Kidapawan City a year ago.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella also assured that the authorities would protect Aquino and several others from the NDF’s order “to arrest” them.
“We only have one government and one justice system in the Philippines. Only the appropriate body can rule on the issue of the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan,” he said.
Rubi del Mundo, NDF-Southern Mindanao Region spokesperson, in a statement posted on the communist rebels’ website on Saturday, said the “People’s Court” found Aquino North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Tali?o-Mendoza, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, North Cotabato Representative Nancy Catamco, several other government civilian personalities and military and police officials liable for the bloody dispersal of Lumad and farmers on April 1 last year.
“The Indictment, issued following a thorough investigation conducted on behalf of the People’s Democratic Government, found compelling evidence that the ‘gross neglect and apathy and willful acts and/of omissions’ of the named-respondents violated the fundamental rights of the civilians guaranteed in international tenets, covenants and instruments such as the GRP-NDFP 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the 1966 International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Geneva Conventions of 1949,” Del Mundo said.
The NDF-SMR spokesperson said the investigation was culled from testimonies of the victims, fact-finding missions, documents and video footages and transcripts of coverage from media organizations who were present at the start of the farmer’s demonstration and barricade until days after the violent dispersal.
Del Mundo said two civilians died, while 34 others were seriously injured when thousands of farmers, who were protesting along the national highway in Kidapawan City, were dispersed by the police and the military.
The protesters, who were asking for government’s help due to drought affecting their farmlands, refused to leave the highway, one of the major transportation arteries in Mindanao, thus, disrupting public movement.
The then Philippine National Police leadership claimed that the protesters first attacked the authorities, while Aquino had said that certain group took advantage of the situation.
With the “war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violation of international humanitarian law and human rights,” Del Mundo said, “it is also effectively prescribed the arrest” of Aquino and of the other officials.
But Abella said, “be that as it may, security measures are in place to guarantee the protection of the former President and other personalities mentioned by the announcement of the National Democratic Front.” Celerina Monte/DMS