Climate of impunity worsens under the US-Marcos Jr. regime

This article is available in Pilipino

LUMABAN-Bikol stands with the people in condemning Ombudsman’s dismissal of cases filed by victims of red-tagging against notorious killmongers retired Lt. Col. Antonio Parlade Jr., Lorraine Badoy and other officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). In Ombudsman’s defense, there is no law prohibiting red-tagging so there is no legal basis to charge them. But what great travesty and injustice is it for the people that there exist draconian laws such as Anti-Terror Law that infringe upon the free exercise of their rights even though it is not a crime but there is no law to punish entities who brazenly violate these rights and directly endanger the lives of the citizens. Indeed, under the US-Marcos Jr. regime, the climate of impunity and injustice is undeniably worsening.

It is incensing how the reactionary government denies the reality of the masses and the actual danger that red-tagging breeds. Countless civilians who were illegally arrested, abducted, tortured and even killed were substantial proofs that victims of red-tagging are vulnerable to attacks by state agents. These arbitrary and militaristic name-calling gives license and encourages grave violations of human rights.

In Bikol, majority of the victims of not less than 1,215 cases of human rights violations ever since NTF-ELCAC began in November 2018 have experienced red-tagging and were tagged as part of the military and polce’s ‘watch lists’. Of the 194 recorded cases of extrajudicial killings and massacres perpetrated by AFP-PNP-CAFGU and death squads, 136, or seven for every 10 incidents were victims of red-tagging beforehand and listed as ‘wanted’ by the enemy. But less than 1% have legal cases filed against them in court. This underscores the abject truth that the bloodthirsty military and police use red-tagging as license to kill – regardless if it has any legal basis or none.

One of the most recent incidents in the region is the continuous red-tagging and surveillance against former staffer of The Pillars and alumnus of Ateneo de Naga University.

Even lawyers and members of the bar fall victims to this indiscriminate violence gripping the entire country. Just this September 14, Atty. Maria Saniata Alzate was gunned down in front of her residence in Bangued, Abra. Alzate is the third lawyer killed under the US-Marcos Jr. regime. The victim served as counsel for an individual abducted, tortured and illegally detained by Abra police this year and who filed for a writ of amparo petition. She is also the lawyer for a case of slain teacher filed against a barangay captain.

As long as the laws of the country do not serve in protection of its citizens, the people’s live will always be in danger. Even worse is that this danger and violence is masterminded and wielded by the state itself. All members of the bar must continue in their unity and struggle to put an end to the culture of impunity and to attain genuine justice for the nation.

Climate of impunity worsens under the US-Marcos Jr. regime