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Aquino may face suit for failure to help PH comfort women—lawyer

/ 03:22 PM January 06, 2016

A possible suit for dereliction of duty will be waiting for President Benigno Aquino III once his term ends at noon of June 30, 2016.

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Atty. Harry Roque said it is the duty of the government to help the Filipino comfort women get justice after they were violated by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

“Pwedeng managot ang isang President for dereliction of duty dahil hindi niya pinaglaban ang karapatan ng mga lola,” Roque said at a press conference.

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(A president may be held accountable for dereliction of duty because he failed to uphold the rights of [comfort women].)

The renewed call for reparation of Filipino comfort women came after Japan and South Korea recently reached a deal where Japan apologized and gave over a billion Japanese yen for the South Korean comfort women.

“While we would like to see details of this agreement  show an official acknowledgment of responsibility by Japan – because precisely, the previous apologies issued by Japan do not appear to be on behalf of the  State but were cast as if there was no official policy implemented to forcefully conscript Asian women as sex slaves – news of this agreement only makes the insult against Filipinas who suffered the same fate sharper and deeper,” Roque said.

“It also underlines the Aquino government’s continuing refusal to abide by its obligation under international law to provide an effective remedy against its own citizens who had been brutalized by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II,” he said adding that “if the President will only perform his official duty, there will be remedy for these women.”

READ: Taiwan and Japan to talk ‘comfort women’ issue next month

Out of the original 90 comfort women recorded in the Philippines, only 32 are left.

In 2004, a petition has been filed by the Malaya Lolas asking the Supreme Court to declare that the respondents—Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Delia Domingo-Albert, Secretary of Justice Merceditas Gutierrez and Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo—committed grave abuse of discretion by declining the Malaya Lolas’ request for assistance and  requiring the respondents to take up their claims for reparation from Japan. This petition was filed due to the dismissal of previous claims for reparation by Japanese courts because these were not supported by the Philippine government.

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Six years later, on April 2010, the high court dismissed the petition for lack of merit and it is not within the court to order the Executive to take up the cause of the Malaya lolas.

READ: Palace to comfort women, critics: Japan not eyeing militarism

The high court said “needless to say, our government should take the lead in protecting its citizens against violation of their fundamental human rights.  Regrettably, it is not within our power to order the Executive Department to take up the petitioners’ cause.  Ours is only the power to urge and exhort the Executive Department to take up petitioners’ cause.”

On March 27, 2013, Centerlaw filed a manifestation asking the Supreme Court to consider a 2011 decision by the Constitutional Court of Korea on the issue of Korean Comfort Women in resolving the controversial Malaya Lolas case.

Centerlaw also filed a Motion for Leave to File Petition for Intervention on behalf of the European Commission on Human Rights (ECCHR). The Motion was denied by the Supreme Court stating that intervention can no longer be had once the case has been submitted for resolution.

In August 5, 2014, the Supreme Court denied the Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration filed by Centerlaw on behalf of the Malaya Lolas.

READ: SC junks anew ‘comfort women’s’ plea for Japan’s apology

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, charges, comfort women, Harry Roque, Malaya lolas, World War II
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