Impunity and Murder in the Philippines

Asia Sentinel
04 October 2010

After years of international attention and outrage, the Philippines has only convicted fewer than 1 percent of the murderers responsible for a spate of killings of leftists, journalists and others during the reign of departed president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, according to a new study by Pacific Strategies and Assessments, a Manila-based risk assessment company.

The PSA report, issued Monday, also questions whether the new administration of Benigno Aquino III has the intention to attempt to clean up the mess. “To date, President Aquino has made no categorical statement or substantive effort to shift away from Oplan Bantay Laya (Safeguarding Freedom) that rests at the core of extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses in the country,” the report said. “His ambiguity or outright avoidance of the issue may simply be a sign that addressing the country’s extra-judicial killings problem is low on his priority list.”

However, the report continues, “it could be that Aquino, like his predecessor, prefers a hard-line solution against perceived government dissenters which would favor security offensives to community development and socio-economic reform. Continue reading