Anti-disappearance law, a failure—Desaparecidos

“That dog doesn’t hunt,” said Lorena P. Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice, referring to the Anti-Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance Law as another farmer-activist in Roxas City, Isabela was reported missing since February 28.

Romulo de la Cruz is the sixth victim of enforced disappearance since the law was enacted in December 2012. “BS Aquino should also apologize to the public for the persistence of this heinous crime despite the law,” Santos said. Based on Karapatan’s documentation, there are now 20 victims enforced disappearances under the BS Aquino regime.

Dela Cruz was a member of Agbiag Matusalem Association-Roxas Isabela (AMA-RI), a local farmers’ organization affiliated with a progressive Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon iti Isabela (Dagami).

De la Cruz’s son and relatives, with the assistance of AMA-RI members, immediately reported the abduction to the San Manuel police station. The police inspected the site of the incident and declared that the case is “outside their jurisdiction because Dagami has ‘several rival organizations’.

“Where else will victims and their families seek help when government authorities are not cooperating? The authorities don’t seem to know the law,” Santos said.

“The Aquino government takes pride on the Anti-Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance Law as the first in Asia. Yet, not one perpetrator has been prosecuted. Not even the poster boy of impunity, Gen. Jovito Palparan who was already served with a warrant of arrest more than two years ago,” Santos added.

Coming from his son’s wedding, de la Cruz was driving a motorcycle together with one of the wedding sponsors. His son Romy and his wife were on another motorcycle behind Romulo’s when a van suddenly cut them. A man, whose face was covered with a handkerchief, alighted the van and pulled Romulo off the motorcycle. The man said he was a member of the National Bureau of Investigation. The man pushed Romulo inside the van and sped away. Dela Cruz remains missing as of this writing.

Santos noted the BS Aquino government, despite the anti-enforced disappearance law, has not yet signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED), an instrument of the United Nations to prevent enforced disappearances. The ICCPED was adopted in 2006 by the UN General Assembly. ###Image

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