Unrelenting violations, impunity pose threat to clean 2022 polls — group

Published October 21, 2021, 1:18 PM

by Gabriela Baron

The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) raised alarm over unrelenting violations and impunity that could possibly pose threat to a “clean and democratic” 2022 polls.

(JUAN CARLO DE VELA / MANILA BULLETIN)

CPDG cited the Sagay massacre where nine sugar workers were killed in Hacienda Nene, Negros Occidental in 2018; the Tumandok massacre in Panay in 2020; the Bloody Sunday in Calabarzon in March; and the recent Lianga massacre in Surigao last June.

The group also lamented the arrest of Cristina Magistrado, a former peasant organizer of Amihan-Cagayan Valley at her home in Binangonan, Rizal last Oct. 17.

“CPDG raised alarm on these non-stop and wholesale violations of people’s rights and the lingering impunity especially as the 2022 national elections close in,” CPDG Spokesperson Liza Maza said.

Maza pointed out that incumbent administrations “are known to use a climate of terror against critics and the opposition for electoral advantage,” such as the red-tagging and terror-tagging in the 2016 national and 2019 midterm elections.”

“We saw so many forms of political repression in the 2016 presidential and 2019 senatorial races. The chilling effect among voters is even more worrying today after the greatly heightened red-tagging sicne the formation of the national counterinsurgency task force,” she added.

During the 2019 election season, Kontra Daya-Metro Manila reported red-tagging and harassment of campaign volunteers of left partylist groups.

Data from human rights group Karapatan, meanwhile, recorded a steady increase of arrests against activists since 2016, with a drastic increase of 1,263 cases between July 2019 until August 2020.

A total of 394 extrajudicial killings were recorded as well, with the period of July 2017 to June 2019.

Aside from the political implications of the human rights crisis on the elections, Maza noted that government inaction on thousands of cases reported by civil society organizations to the national and international mechanisms shows that “human rights have no value under the Duterte administration.”

“Violations continue unhampered despite growing condemnation by the international community,” Maza said, citing the recent resolution issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court’s authorization on the investigation of extrajudicial killings commiited under Duterte’s governance.

CPDG stressed that the climate of impunity worsened by the administration’s draconian policies “must immediately stop as it will create a condition for worse political violence in the coming elections.”

“The task of the civil society is to expose the current ills that confront the country and ensure the integrity of the electoral process. The 2022 National Elections is a looming battle to reverse the situation where we can fight to retake our hard-won democratic rights and bring justice to the victims of violations and their families,” Maza ended.

 
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