December 10, 2008
ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY…
KIKO TO PALACE: WORK ON DISMAL STATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD
In commemoration of Human Rights Day today, Independent senator and known human rights activist Kiko Pangilinan today challenged Malacañang to put an end to the unabated aggression against journalists in the Philippines.
“We should meet Human Rights Day with measures and policies that will up the conviction rate of extra-judicial killings, especially journalist killings, in our courts. Government must stop these crimes that stifle press freedom and intimidate media practitioners from exposing anomalies and unethical practices in our country,” Kiko said.
Another journalist was slain last December 2, upping the record to seven journalists killed this year. Sixty-two journalists have been murdered since the present administration came to power.
“The chilling effect created by the assaults on activists and journalists is not just an attack on the people’s right to free speech but is also a blow on our rule of law and democracy. The government and the entire justice system need to step up their efforts fast to curb this unacceptable state of human rights in the country. It will be a very tragic legacy for President Arroyo if no improvement will be seen in the immediate future,” Kiko added.
“We need to raise our conviction rate from an embarrassingly low 20% to about 60% at the very least. Admirably, Hong Kong boasts of a conviction rate of 80%. How can we stop extra-judicial killings when only a few are truly punished? We cannot say we have restored justice and the rule of law until we address this problem. We need to punish more, and punish fast if we are to put an end to this menace,” Kiko ended.####