The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed “serious concern” over the erroneous list published by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which allegedly named alumni from the University of the Philippines (UP) who “joined” the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Similar lapses, if left unchecked, can put reputations and lives in serious danger,” warned CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia.
The CHR has noted the move made by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recognizing the wrong done, as well as the apology made by the AFP for publishing an unverified list of alleged UP alumni who were erroneously named as members of the NPA who died or were captured.
The post was made on the Facebook page of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Information Exchange. It was posted on the eve of January 22 and received hundreds of reactions and shares before it was taken down on Saturday morning.
While the post has already been removed, the CHR has stressed that government institutions such as the AFP have an obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of all persons.
“In this specific case, such obligation for human rights does not only include protecting groups and individuals from harm, but also involves ensuring that government actions do not put innocent lives in peril,” said de Guia.
She said that government officials must use their influence responsibly, because they have the power to shape perceptions and options. “After all, the taxes that serve as the lifeblood of the government are from the people and are presumed to be always intended for the greater good,” she said.