PROTECTION URGENTLY NEEDED: The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has written to Pedro Acharon Jr., mayor of General Santos City; and to Commissioner Leila de Lima, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), seeking for their adequate and prompt intervention to ensure witnesses to vigilante killings are given protection.
The AHRC renewed its appeal over concerns that the lack of protection to witnesses resulted to cases not progressing in court. This was similarly claimed by Sr. Supt. Ramon Apolinario, city director of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), in defending his failure and his men’s to solve the vigilante killings in Davao. The AHRC is asking the authorities concerned to take effective action on this matter.
In his letter to Commissioner de Lima, Moon Jeong Ho, programme officer of the AHRC’s urgent appeals programme, express concern to the continued failure by government agencies to ensure protection to witnesses; and to address the phenomenon of vigilante killings, in particular by implementing the recommendations made by Professor Philip Alston, special rapporteur of the United Nation’s Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions.
“Though he has made recommendations for the authorities to address this, the unabated murders are a stark reality that none of his recommendations have so far been implemented,” an excerpt of Moon’s letter said.
Apart from appealing to Commissioner de Lima, Moon also express disappointments in his letter to Mayor Acharon’s over the latter’s continued inaction to respond to appeals calling for him to take action; and of his local police, into effectively stopping and subsequently solving the unsolved vigilante killings in his city.
Moon was also disappointed of Mayor Acharon for not responding to letters of appeals sent to his office. The AHRC, according to Moon, has since never received any response from his office informing of any action that has been taken, if there are any, to the deteriorating condition of security there.