Casiño to Aquino: Human rights issue is no leftist propaganda
A militant congressman ridiculed by President Benigno Aquino for his low survey ratings is not backing down.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño on Thursday confronted the President on his administration’s human rights record, which, to date, allegedly involved 114 cases of extrajudicial killings, 70 torture incidents and 12 cases of disappearances.
Casiño was incensed that Mr. Aquino dismissed the human rights issue as a “leftist propaganda,” saying the President’s position “echoed the dangerous line” of ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and retired Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, who was dubbed “The Butcher” by leftist organizations.
“Simply dismissing as such the valuable and arduous work of human rights activists, victims, their families and friends is not only a grave injustice but perpetuates the culture of impunity by which these abuses are done,” Casiño wrote in his blog.
Not of surveys
Casiño was also ticked off by Mr. Aquino’s reference to his poor performance in recent surveys for prospective winners in the 2013 senatorial election.
“We have a very vocal leftist community. But if the surveys are any indication, they have a senatorial candidate—our senators are elected at large throughout the nation—and this person currently has 2.6 percent of the population voting for him, which is very, very little,” the President had said in an interview during his state visit to New Zealand.
“The President stooped so low as to ridicule my survey ratings just to discredit and dismiss fellow human rights advocates who have been the most persistent in exposing the truth about the continuing extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and harassment of journalists and activists,” Casiño said.
Why the President said that, he said, this escapes him.
‘Rich, powerful, pedigreed’
“The President had no right belittling the survey ratings of candidates like me who are at a disadvantage compared to rich, powerful, pedigreed politicians like him and his coalition partners. To think that were it not for his lineage and his mother’s death, he wouldn’t even have rated as a presidential contender in 2010,” he added.
Casiño said Mr. Aquino “rubbed salt on the wounds of the human rights victims and their families” when he linked the issue to a supposed “leftist propaganda.”
“While himself a victim of the martial law regime, he seemed to have forgotten why victims and their supporters are so strident and persistent about human rights—because for them it is a life and death issue,” he said.
“Our human rights advocacy is not mere propaganda to discredit his administration. It is about finding a missing son or daughter. It is about seeking justice for a murdered loved one. It is about holding the perpetrators to account so that the killings and disappearances stop.”
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