“Justice is justice, it cannot mean anything else. Definitely, it cannot mean war,” claimed Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary General of human rights group Karapatan, in reaction to Pres. Aquino’s declaration of “all-out justice” in the aftermath of the series of incidents involving the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“This government has the propensity, as proven by practice, to distort concepts such as “justice,” ‘peace,’ ‘human rights’, ‘development’ and churn out media spins and catch phrases just to earn “pogi” points and mask its militarist streak on the ground. In this case, it uses “all-out justice” to conduct air strikes in pursuit of so-called criminal elements. Clearly, the bombings only sow terror, resulted to economic dislocation and displacement of civilians. Reports show that there are now at least 20,000 individuals who left their homes in Basilan and in Zamboanga Sibugay. This is not justice,” asserted Clamor.
Karapatan noted that the government’s use of by-words such as ‘respect for human rights’, ‘peace and development’ and ‘all-out justice’ is deliberate and in keeping with Oplan Bayanihan’s deceptive tactics.
Clamor added that “Basilan is still under a ‘state of lawlessness’ since former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s declaration in 2001. Civilians were arbitrarily arrested and detained because of trumped up charges heaped upon them as fall guys just to show that the police and the military have done their job to quell the alleged terrorists in the area. At least 80 of them are still in detention. Again, civilians have become the casualties of this “all-out justice” campaign by a government that is supposedly the opposite of GMA.”
“We call on the government to stop the bombings and other militarist measures that endangers the lives of civilians,” concluded Clamor. ###