US: Political Killings Still A Problem In RP – ABS-CBN TV

March 12, 2008 at 11:39 am | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

Arbitrary, unlawful arrests and extra-judicial and political killings continued to be a major problem in the Philippines in 2007, the United States government said Wednesday. 

In its 2007 report on the human rights conditions in the Philippines (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100535.htm), Washington noted that many of these killings went unsolved and unpunished despite intensified efforts of the government to investigate and prosecute these cases.

“Concerns about impunity persisted. Members of the security services committed acts of physical and psychological abuse on suspects and detainees, and there were instances of torture,” the report said, adding:

“Arbitrary or warrantless arrests and detentions were common. Trials were delayed, and procedures were prolonged. Prisoners awaiting trial and those already convicted were often held under primitive conditions.”

Left-wing and human rights activists were often subject to harassment by local security forces, the report said.

The US also noted that corruption has pervaded institutions making up the criminal justice system, including police, prosecutorial and judicial organs.

Problems such as violence against women and abuse of children, child prostitution, trafficking in persons, child labor, and ineffective enforcement of worker rights were also common.

The report took note of the measures taken by the Philippine government to step up its investigation and prosecution of cases of arbitrary, unlawful, and extrajudicial killings.

It said these measures included the creation of human rights offices in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, the Supreme Court’s petition for a writ of amparo, and President Arroyo’s directive for “cooperation and coordination” between prosecutors and police from the outset of a political or media killing “until the termination of cases in court.”

“The full results of these reforms in terms of indictments and convictions were not yet visible, but government agencies, human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and even some of the government’s critics noted a significant decrease in the number of killings,” the report said. 

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