November 28, 2009
Instead of running again, Arroyo should step down over killings
Saying that the ultimate responsibility for the climate of impunity rests with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today called on the president to step down and desist from pursuing public office in the 2010 elections.
“Being ultimately responsible for the hundreds of unsolved cases of extrajudicial killings during her watch, Mrs. Arroyo has no business seeking any public office in 2010. She has made herself morally unqualified to hold any public office or elective position. She should step down, the sooner the better,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“Her attempt to run again insults the entire Filipino people and belittles the long standing problem of impunity in the country. It is deplorable that she has given the congressional seat in Pampanga more thought than the plight of the many human rights victims,” he added.
Bayan said that talks were rife on the possibility that Arroyo will seek the congressional seat in the second district of Pampanga, a position currently held by her son Mikey.
“Perhaps she is just waiting for the Ampatuan massacre to die down. She’s probably hoping that this blows over so that come December 1, she can file her certificate of candidacy,” Reyes said.
“The fact that she wants to stay in power despite everything that has happened, that is something that also incomprehensible. It is like she has been intoxicated by power and that she can no longer give it up. Or perhaps she is afraid of losing immunity or political leverage once she is no longer president,” the Bayan leader added.
Various human rights groups, lawyers, journalists, religious formations and women’s groups are preparing protest actions on November 30 to call for an end to impunity and to demand justice for all the victims of human rights abuses under the Arroyo regime.
“Many have noticed that it appears presidential candidate Gibo Teodoro, though no longer in office, seems to be doing more than Mrs. Arroyo. Could it be because the president is too busy in pushing her congressional bid in Pampanga?” he asked.
“We’ve counted more than 1,000 victims of extrajudicial killings, nearly 200 cases of enforced disappearances, some 200 cases of torture and scores of other abuses. But we count very few conviction, if any. If that is not impunity, then what is? The trail of blood, leads right up the doorstep of Malacanang,” Reyes said. ###