Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ermita, Malacanang Spinning Lies About UN Officials' Take on Human Rights Situation-- NYCHRP

News Release
November 1, 2007

Reference: Jamie Mapa, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, email: nychrp@yahoo.com

Ermita, Malacanang Spinning Lies About UN Officials' Take on Human Rights Situation-- NYCHRP

New York-- It seems Philippine Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita's claims of praise from United Nations officials Philip Alston and Louise Arbor are different from what is actually reflected on paper. After a recent trip to New York with members of the Presidential Commission for Human Rights, Purificacion Quisumbing and Coco Quisumbing, Ermita claimed the Philippine delegation was able to "convince" both UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that "the Philippines' human rights record is not that bad as earlier claimed", as reported in a recent Philippine Daily Inquirer last October 26th.

Ermita was deployed by Malacanang to New York last week to answer to a prelimary report drafted by Alston indicating the Philippine military's role in perpetrating the nearly 900 killings and 200 enforced disappearances of broad civilian opposition forces since 2001.

Alston is scheduled to release a final report in the coming weeks.

"The Ermita visit was mainly a desperate attempt to get Alston to revise what a really damaging preliminary report for the Philippine government," states Gary Labao of the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines or NYCHRP. "Arroyo wants the final report to be sanitized and clean, for her administration's sake. The first report opened up the floodgates for an outpour of worldwide condemnation to the human rights situation in the Philippines."

Labao also pointed out that during Alston's statement to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly back in October 25th, nowhere in his documented statement was an indication of him being convinced that the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines is improving through Malacanang's measures.

"The bottom line is that only the elimination of such killings and the ending of the impunity enjoyed to date, by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in particular, will signal that the situation has turned the corner. Yet I continue to receive deeply disturbing reports," Alston stated.

"It's really pathetic that Malacanang is pressuring Philippine media to paint a promising picture about their UN visit, when the reality is Alston remains unconvinced. This should only deepen the public's distrust of Malacanang's spin on the human rights situation," Labao ended. ###