17 August, 2007
Impunity of perpetrators and lack of serious effort at investigation and prosecution are two major factors for the unabated political killings in the country.
These were pointed out by Atty. Jose Midas Marquez, spokesperson of the Supreme Court, and Atty. Neri Colmenares, spokesperson of the lawyers’ group Counsels for the Defense of Civil Liberties, at the forum held at the Wrocklage Yard of the University of San Carlos (USC) yesterday (August 16, 2007) afternoon.
The , was attended not just by students and faculty of the Departments of Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN), Political Science (PolSci), and Economics (Econ), but also lawyers, religious, human rights advocates, and law students from other universities.
Atty. Marquez said the judiciary is addressing the problems by working on the recommendations identified in the Supreme Court Summit on Extra-Judicial Killings last month. These are the inclusion in the rules of court of the remedy of Writ of Amparo, which encompasses the demand to avail of the bill of rights, and the strengthening of the witness protection program, among others.
Atty. Colmenares however cautioned that good intentions of the Supreme Court and dedication of human rights lawyers and advocates will not be enough without the full public support and participation to address the phenomenon of political killings.
He reiterated that this is crucial since the main suspect in the killings of activists is the government and its security forces.
The Forum, which was co-sponsored by the USC-Lex Circle, USC-Supreme Student Council, Integrated Bar of the Philippines(IBP)-Cebu City, National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and KARAPATAN, was opened by Atty. Briccio Joseph Boholst, chairperson of IBP-Cebu City and moderated by Atty. Noemi Truya, of NUPL.
It strived to: 1) To heighten awareness on the state of political killings under the Arroyo administration; 2) To familiarize participants on the strategies employed to abate the problems related to political killings; and 3) To provide a venue to discuss possible legislative and judiciary solutions to end all political killings.