Advocate cites hurdles in rights cases in PH

By Jessa Mae O. Sotto |September 29,2018 - 11:24 PM

A HUMAN rights advocate cited the difficulty of resolving human rights cases in the country.

Nilda Lagman-Sevilla, chairperson of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance, said in an interview on Friday, that none of the 76 cases of human rights violations and abuses affecting 3,309 human rights defenders from Sept. 2013 to Sept. 2016 had not yet been resolved.

Sevilla was referring to the data provided by the Medical Action Group (MAG) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines.

Most of cases that violated human rights were reportedly EJK, frustrated killing and arrest.

“Ang hirap kapag kalaban mo ang perpetrators are public authorities. Parang fraternity, they defend each other. Ang hirap mangalap ng ebidensya. Kahit witnesses are takot lalo na sa political climate ngayon (It’s difficult if the perpertrators are public authorities. They are like a fraternity and they defend each other. It’s so difficult to gather evidence and even witnesses are scared especially with the political climate today),” she said.

Lawyer Philip Sawali, detained Senator Leila de Lima’s chief of staff, who was in Cebu on Saturday, said that with this situation, Senator De Lima had been pushing to enact Senate Bill 1699, otherwise known as Human Rights Defenders Act of 2018 to protect human rights advocates.

De Lima, a known critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, was detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center for charges of alleged trading in illegal drugs.

Sawali said the case was subsequently changed to conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.’

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