April 27, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday reported at least 20 election-related killings in the country.
During a press conference of the Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan (BKH) initiative in Quezon City, Gemma Parojinog, officer-in-charge of the CHR Policy Office, said two of these cases were already filed at the Prosecutor’s Office in Bulacan and Batangas for charges of murder against the perpetrators.
Parojinog said the highest number of fatalities were recorded in Calabarzon (four), Zamboanga Peninsula (four), Cordillera Administrative Region (three), and Davao Region (three).
“Binabantayan na ng aming regional officers ang mga kasong ito, para masigurado na masasampahan ng kaso ang lahat ng mga perpetrators,” she said.
Aside from killings, Parojinog said the group also monitored 28 instances of assaults, harassments, and other human rights violations from August last year until early this month.
Recently, Parojinog said the group received another report of 20 killings and six more human rights violations that appeared to be politically motivated.
However, she noted that each case must be investigated and validated to establish the facts.
“Only when such reports are validated and confirmed will criminal charges be filed,” she said.
She noted that the CHR and the Department of Justice can initiate the filing of criminal charges against the suspects.
The CHR, in coordination with human rights group Philippine Alliance on Human Rights (PAHRA) and election watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), has launched the BKH last December to monitor and report cases of human rights violations during the election season.
The BKH has enlisted about 10,000 volunteers nationwide.
But Rose Trajano, secretary-general of PAHRA, said they still need more so they can monitor down to the municipal level.
Early this month, the CHR also signed a memorandum of agreement with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to monitor human rights violations in the days leading to the national polls. – AIB