Kiko Pangilinan calls on Malacanang to address worsening human rights violations in RP

May 26, 2009

Press Release
May 26, 2009

Independent senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today condemns the latest reports of abduction of activists in Tarlac even as the country is being criticized by the United Nations that the Philippine government is not doing enough to stop extrajudicial killings and disappearances of activists and cause-oriented group members.
“This is getting out of hand. How can we, as a nation, move forward when we are weighed down by barbaric acts of human rights violations? We urge President Arroyo to put a stop to these condemnable deeds,” said Pangilinan.
It was reported that last week, May 19 at 2PM, community health workers Melissa Roxas, John Edward Jandoc and Juanito Carabeo were forcibly taken by armed men in La Paz, Tarlac. Roxas’s family member recounted how the three community workers were handcuffed and dragged to a van with two motorcycle backups.
“We do not know who took them and why,” said Roxas’ relative thru a text message. “It has been reported to La Paz police station. My cousin started yelling her name, Melissa Roxas, so that the community who witnessed (sic) would know her identity.”
Roxas, an American of Filipino descent, is the first Fil-American activist to disappear in the country. She was released yesterday, but the details of her abduction remain hazy as relatives refuse to give specific information of the incident. The other two remain missing.
“We are going to do our best to get to the bottom of this. But ultimately, the President has to exert her political will to put an end to the unprecedented number of political abductions and human rights violations in the country,” Pangilinan said.
“We condemn Malacanang’s silence on this issue. President Arroyo has said before that a president is as strong as she wants to be. Now is the time for her to show this to be true. If we are helpless in the face of abductions, do we take it therefore that in this instance the president has chosen not to be extra strong on extrajudicial killings and human rights violations? Malacanang has to show the people that they aren’t inutile in the face of these abductions.”