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29, 2012

NR # 2846

Cases of human rights violations down in 2011 CHR

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has reported a decrease in the total number of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture in 2011 with 132 incidents and 215 victims, compared to the 183 incidents and 408 victims recorded in 2010. This was revealed by CHR Chairman Etta Rosales during the Commissions recent budget hearing of the House of Committee on Appropriations chaired by Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya where she presented her agencys proposed P318.904-million 2013 budget, which is 9.1% higher than the current years P289.783-million outlay. Rosales said as per CHR monitoring in 2011, there were 2,988 complaints of various human rights violations received involving 3,476 victims and 3,766 perpetrators. Of the said cases there were 1,238 male victims and 814 female victims and there were 1,980 male perpetrators and 264 female perpetrators. However, Rosales said based on preliminary evaluation of 2,115 complaints, only 237 required full-blown investigations while majority or 1,807 needed legal aid and counseling services. Some 32 complaints were found to be outside the agencys jurisdiction and were immediately referred to other agencies, Rosales said. Rosales said CHR resolved a total of 675 cases in 2011 disposed as follows: filing and monitoring in courts and relevant agencies for either prosecution and/or administrative action (256 cases); dismissal/termination (23 cases); settlement under Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR (53) cases); archiving (8 cases); and revert for further investigation (1 cases). The resolved cases in 2011 included the high profile killing of botanist Leonard Co and his two companions and the hazing of trainees of the Philippine National Police captured in two videos, Rosales said. In addition to the cases filed for prosecution and/or administrative action, there were 278 closed/terminated cases and 46 archived cases wherein the CHR established the existence of human rights violation and recommended other remedial measures, including the grant of financial assistance, Rosales added. Likewise, CHR regional offices investigated a total of 64 cases of child abuse. Out of this number, three (3) cases were closed for monitoring and 14 cases were referred to different agencies such as the Department of Education, National Police Commission and the Ombudsman, Rosales said.

The commissions Forensic Center attended to 188 cases requiring independent medico-legal services including autopsies and exhumations, according to Rosales. The forensic cases include 31 incidents of torture and various allegations of maltreatment of suspects while in custody of the Police, Rosales said. Also among the high profile cases investigated in 2011 include the filling of Fr. Fausto Pops Tentorio, the Italian missionary who was known for advocating the interests of Lumads in Cotabato; the death of Erick Joseph Apura due to the hazing at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy; the death of Nicanor Mariano and wounding of his brother, Norman, due to indiscriminate firing allegedly committed by the soldiers of the 56th Infantry Brigade; the ambush of the Scout Rangers of the Philippine Army in Sumilip, Basilan; and the arrest and torture of Abdulkhan Balinting Y Ajid, as suspected Abu Sayyaf member whose warrant of arrest contained a different name. Rosales said the CHR also contributed to the peaceful resolution of the 3-day hostage taking by five armed men from the Manobo tribe in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur in April this year. At the start of the 2011, the CHR adopted its updated CHRP Strategic Plan for 2010-2015 which enunciates the focus areas for its human rights protection, promotion and policy advisory programs and services, Rosales stressed. The CHRs priority thrusts and directions include Intensifying Human Rights monitoring; nurturing a culture of human rights in Philippines society; institutional strengthening of the CHRP; strengthening the human rights mechanisms in the country; enhancing the human rights service delivery system and building alliances and partnerships at various levels. (30) dpt