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Aquino enacts law on ‘desaparecidos’

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President Benigno Aquino. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Just before nightfall Friday, President Benigno Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10350, otherwise known as the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act, which criminalizes abduction by the state or by its agents.

With the President’s imprimatur, the Philippines has become the first Asian country to define enforced disappearance as a separate criminal offense.

“President just signed the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012,” said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a text message.

Without fanfare, Mr. Aquino signed the measure which was earlier hailed by the families of “desaparecidos”—people seized by the state and never seen again—as a “timely and meaningful Christmas gift.”

No part of the RA 10350 has been vetoed by the President.

Explaining by phone, Lacierda said: “one cannot do a line item veto since this bill is not a revenue, budget or tariff measure.”

It was Lacierda who confirmed the other night that Mr. Aquino was set to sign the measure, allaying fears that the President would just let it lapse into law this Sunday.

The principal author of the bill, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, had mistakenly announced, through a press release, that the measure had been signed by the President.

When the Inquirer sought a confirmation at past 10 p.m. Thursday, Lagman had said he had already retracted the release.

Distinct crime

The law treats enforced disappearance as a distinct crime separate from kidnapping, serious illegal detention, or murder.

The law says that enforced disappearance is committed when a citizen is deprived of liberty by the state or agents of the state, and when information on the whereabouts of the missing is concealed or denied.

It would also goad security officers into being better public servants who respect human rights.

According to Lagman, once signed into law, RA 10350 would “end the impunity of offenders.”

“It envisions a new or a better breed of military, police and civilian officials and employees who respect and defend the human rights and civil liberties of the people they are sworn to protect and serve and who observe the rule of law at all times,” he said.

Lagman said the enforced disappearance law cannot be suspended even during periods of political instability, or when there is a threat of war, state of war, or any public emergency.

The law also upholds the right to truth by requiring public officers to give inquiring citizens full information about people under their custody.

It also requires investigating officials who learn that the people they are investigating are  victims of enforced disappearance to relay the information to their families, lawyers and concerned human rights groups.

The law also provides free access to the updated register of detained or confined people to those who have a legitimate interest in the data.

All detention centers must have such a register.


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Tags: Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act , Aquino , News


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000532465679 Donardo Cuago

    WELL DONE, MR. PRESIDENT!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    Favorable to the NPAs. They can abduct the military while the military will just do nothing even if they see something wrong. 

    • ruben_bush

       precisely, that is why the AFP is the protector of the people. they must act in accordance with the law.  yung npa, tawag sa kanila outlaws.  kung gagaya ren ang afp sa npa, mang-aabuso den eh magiging outlaws den sila.  mas gagalangin sila ng taong bayan kung kikilos sila nang sangayon sa batas. kapag malinis ang afp ng mga korap at mga berdugo tulad ni palparan, ito ay mamahalin ng taong bayan. 

    • http://on.fb.me/16z14Nv Angel Divera

      The military can hold the NPA or arrest them but they have to be transparent where they put those prisoners. That’s the right way, NPAs are criminals actually pretending to be good.

  • buttones

    We never had a Law that says abduction by the State is a crime? I never knew that, and we are the first to define this in the whole of Asia from the Bosporus to the Bering Straits? Incredible!

    • INQ_reader

       Please read carefully. Bottom line is, disappearances enforced by the state is a new breed of crime.

      “…the enforced disappearance law cannot be
      suspended even during periods of political instability, or when there is
      a threat of war, state of war, or any public emergency..”

      “…The law also upholds the right to truth by
      requiring public officers to give inquiring citizens full information
      about people under their custody…”

      • buttones

        Well I will try to read carefully, I will [cross my heart] the words being used are just a Sesquipedalian rant, it really has no meaning at all, it’s just blather…. That is my opinion…..

  • ConstructiveMediaCritics

    THE LAWS PASSED FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS OFFENDERS PROTECTING PEOPLE SPECIALLY INNOCENT ARE GOOD AND WOULD HELP TO DISCIPLINE THE OFFENDERS AND MAKE THEM AWARE OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO BACK OUT FOR NOT BEING PUNISHED BY THE LAWS…..

    THE BEST AND GOOD THE GOVERNMENT CAN DO IN AVOIDING HUMAN RIGHTS OFFENDERS ASIDE FROM THE LAWS PASSED AND ITS SHARP TEETH TO TAKE ACTIONS BY THE GOVERNMENT IS THE CONTINUES TRAININGS AND SEMINARS AND PROMOTIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND MORAL CONDUCT OF THE GOVERNMENT ENFORCERS FROM AFP TO PNP….

    THE GOOD EDUCATIONS AND TRAININGS WILL HELP MAINTAINING THE GOOD BEHAVIOR OF OUR FORCES IN CARRYING OUT THEIR DUTIES EVEN INSPITE OF DEMORALIZATIONS LEVEL OR STATUS IN FIGHTING ENEMY OF THE STATE…OR HECTIC CAMPAIGN OF SUPPRESSION’S BY THE GOVERNMENT AGAINST THE COMMON CRIMES AND INSURGENTS…

    THE BEHAVIOR OF OUR ENFORCEMENTS PERSONNEL DEPENDS IN HIS ACTIONS OF DOING GOOD OR ABUSES IN SUPPRESSING COMMON CRIMINALS OR INSURGENTS…THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO CARE AND MOLD THE BEHAVIOR OF OUR ENFORCEMENT FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE…

    PROTECT AND PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS….

    GOD AND JESUS ADN MOTHER MARY LIGHTS AND MIRACLES, LIGHTS AND BLESS US ALL….
     

    • buttones

      Sorry, I have no wish to be rude or offensive but using upper case does not underline your point at all, and, having read your post I am not that sure of what it is you are trying to say , other than pasting others opinions. Do you have any of your own?

    • ARIKUTIK

      Just what the Pak are you talking about ? Now listen to this > Was abduction legal or illegal ? If it was illegal then the president is just joking so that people with minds like you may be swindled. You see the president is Swindling Abnoy !

  • $25214711

    We can hate panot as much as we want pero  isa ito sa kanyang tamang ginawa.  Not bad Mr. Pres!

  • INQ_reader

    Our legislature is on a roll…

  • basilionisisa

    three important Laws enacted, passed and signed before the year ends: Sin Tax, RH, and Anti-Enforced Disappearance… very nice Christmas presents to your country, Mr President! Thank you!

  • Yobhtron

    Good job Mr President.

  • EdgarEdgar

    It’s one thing to sign the Desaparecidos bill into law and quite another to actually uphold it.

    If action speaks louder than words, Pres. Aquino has actually failed the test. He recently appointed as his spy chief in ISAFP a general who is implicated in the case of a desaparecido (Jonas Burgos). Pres. Aquino correctly decided against too much fanfare as it will only call attention to his hypocrisy.

    Congratulations to Brigadier General Eduardo Año, that’s if you get confirmed by the senate.

    Aquino’s message to Burgos family could not have been clearer: Give it up.

  • Bengatibo

    PNOY is on the roll and on the right track. This law will dispel doubts about his intentions. 2012 A good year and hopes that 2013 would even be better. next would be FOI and the amended Cybercrime Law!!!



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