Cory Aquino's gruesome human-rights violations

Tuesday October 30, 2018 ()

After the Edsa mutiny, Cory Aquino and her inveterate Yellow disciples have derided repeatedly the Marcos regime for its serious human-rights violations in a relentless effort to demonize it.

She issued on December 22, 1987, a reassuring statement that "she will never tolerate any violations, much less any gross and systematic violation of human rights."

But unknown to the general public, her regime, by contrast, presented a gruesome picture of the human- rights situation from March 1, 1986, to December 1991 with the number of warrantless arrests and detention reaching an alarming level of 15,999 and extrajudicial executions of 1,733 cases, including 189 that occurred in 1990 alone.

Mendiola Massacre
(A scene from the Mendiola carnage on January 22, 1987)

The records in Congress, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFD) for the same period showed 335 cases of disappearances and 146 cases of massacres, which happened between March 1, 1986 and 1989, including the infamous Mendiola carnage that claimed the lives of 12 farmers who protested against the takeover of Hacienda Luisita and her defective agrarian- reform policy in front of the presidential palace’s main gate on Mendiola.

In reaction to the Mendiola carnage, Philippine Human Rights Commissioners JBL Reyes, Jose Diokno, Zenaida Avacena and Mariani Dimaranan all resigned.

President Aquino’s human-rights records also revealed that, from 1986 to 1990, a total of 71,111 families, 23,424 individuals, 229 barangays, and 207 sitios (small villages) were affected by 464 cases of forced evacuations; 20 cases of hamletting, which affected 2,306 individuals and 1,675 families; and 23 cases of economic and food blockades, affecting 8,925 families in 36 barangays in the countryside. Of the 8,925 families affected, 4,024 were victimized in 1990.

In addition, 34 journalists who had exposed graft and corruption and other venalities in her government were murdered, and many others were persecuted while in the legitimate pursuit of their profession. In President Ramos’s six-year in office, 18 journalists were slain, for a total of 52 post-Edsa casualties.

Of the 52, six were killed in Metro Manila, including two who were caught in the crossfire of the 1987 coup attempt; 22 were slain in Mindanao; five in Cotabato City; three each in the cities of Zamboanga, Davao and Iligan; two each in Surigao and General Santos Cities; and one each in Dipolog, Ozamis, Basilan and Davao del Norte; 13 in Luzon (outside Metro Manila); three in Laguna, two each in Cagayan, Pangasinan, Isabela, Cavite and Lucena City; and 11 in the Visayas, including three in Cebu City, two in Iloilo and one in Tacloban.

Before Dr. Arillio's books went to press, only a few of these killings had been solved and, ironically, none of the cause-oriented groups that accused Marcos, and later Presidents Ramos and Joseph Estrada, of stifling freedom of the press and of violating human rights, had registered even just a whimper of protest.

Only the late journalist Renato Constantino, the late Louie Beltran of the Philippine Star, Melinda Liu of Newsweek, Catherine Manegold and Luisa Torregosa of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bill Branigin of the Washington Post, Tom Breen of the Washington Times, Seth Mydans of the New York Times, Rigoberto Tiglao then of Far East Economic Review, Luis Teodoro of The Manila Times and this writer have extensively written articles on the Aquino human-rights violations.

Many media men either turned a blind eye or obfuscated the issue in favor of the Aquino regime.

The figures on human-rights violations could be more as other incidents committed by the military, the communists and the Moro secessionists were not documented at all.

In Marcos’s nine years of martial rule, by comparison, only 32 journalists were killed in the line of duty.

TFD, a nongovernment organization composed mainly of dedicated nuns and laymen, reported to Congress that, between 1977 and before the Edsa mutiny in 1986, there were a total of 21,893 warrantless arrests, 2,658 cases of extrajudicial executions and 791 disappearances.

The TFD considered as human-rights violations those acts which were violative of certain rights defined by international norms (e.g., arbitrary killing, taking one’s property, etc.) which were committed due to political motives by government authorities or by any persons acting in their behalf.

Reflecting the sentiment of the military, the organization that was often blamed on human-rights violations, retired Maj. Gen. Maria Jose Solguillo, then-chief of the Southern Luzon Command, said in a dialogue with HRC officials:

"When the military hit and arrest communist guerrillas, it was human-rights violations; when the guerrillas hit and ambushed the soldiers, it was all right."

Solguillo told Dr. Arillo in an interview that the investigation of human-rights violations by the HRC, the agency created by President Aquino, was always lopsided against the military as if human rights were not also the concern of soldiers, their wives and their orphans.


  • Martial law, human rights and other stark issues, Cecilio Arillo, October 30, 2018, Business Mirror


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