Gascon: No CHR statement ruling out rights abuses in Mindanao
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Chito Gascon on Saturday said the Commission has not issued any categorical statement that there are no human-rights violations in Mindanao.
Gascon made the clarification during the joint special session in the House of Representatives, where Congress convened to tackle the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to prolong martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.
Addressing lawmakers from both chambers, Gascon clarified that the CHR has not issued any statement that rules out any martial law-related abuses in Mindanao, contrary to what CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz earlier told the Inquirer.
Gascon admitted that the commission has not yet made any report of human-rights violations in Mindanao, but this is “different from any categorical statement that there is no human-rights violation.”
In fact, reports of human-rights violations have been coming in to the commission since the martial law was declared on May 23, Gascon said.
“We don’t have a categorical statement to say there is no human-rights violation,” Gascon said.
Gascon countered the statement of Cadiz, who said the CHR regional offices in Mindanao has not yet reported any human-rights violations in Mindanao under martial law.
“Our regional offices have not reported yet any violations arising from martial law,” Cadiz earlier told the Inquirer. “But there are concerns this might be used for reasons other than quelling rebellion. It may be used for political reasons. There are fears of that, although wala pa (it has not happened yet).”
Congress convened Saturday to tackle Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao. His martial law proclamation is set to expire today July 22, after the 60-day period prescribed in the 1987 Constitution. JPV
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