Palace dares critics to prove martial law abuses
Malacanang has challenged the critics to prove the alleged human rights violations in Mindanao due to the declaration of martial law in the region.
In a press briefing Thursday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said it was easy to say that there were human rights violations in Mindanao but no complaints were filed.
"So my challenge: where are those complaints?" Roque said.
"They should show it, where are those complaints and prove that there were complaints being neglected by the Armed Forces (of the Philippines)," he said.
He asked those criticizing the declaration of martial law to stop their allegations if they do not have enough proof.
Unlike the government troops, he said the critics are not sacrificing their life for the country.
"We recognized the heroism of our soldiers, we are giving them presumption of good faith," he said.
"It's up to the accusers, those who are complaining (to show) a burden of evidence and burden of proof ? where's your evidence? Otherwise, don't complain if you are not the one who is sacrificing for the country," he added.
Human Rights group Karapatan said they documented at least 49 victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao, with an average of one victim killed every week. Most of the victims were indigenous peoples and members of local peasant organizations targeted for their local campaigns for genuine agrarian reform and against militarization since the start of martial law on May 23, 2017.
The group said it recorded 22 cases of torture, 116 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killings, 89 victims of illegal arrest and detention, and 336,124 victims of indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombings.
At least 404, 654 individuals have been displaced, largely because of these bombings. There were also 979 civilians who were forcibly portrayed as rebel surrenderees and whose “surrenders” were staged/faked by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“If the Duterte regime has nothing to hide, why stifle independent probes and other forms of exercise of people’s democratic rights? If it is intent on looking into reports of reported rights violations, why harass the victims and their relatives when they file charges and complaints before courts and other redress mechanisms?” Karapatan said. Ella Dionisio/DMS