Stop the empty bragging; we want the “big fish”, rights victims tell BS Aquino

News Release
25 March 2014

“We want the real “big fish” arrested, the real perpetrators of crimes against humanity,” said victims of human rights violations in reaction to BS Aquino’s overweening pride in the arrest of communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria.

Families of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances lambasted Malacanang statements that repeatedly called Tiamzon and Austria as the “big fish.”

“Walang dapat ipagmalaki si Pang. Noynoy Aquino kasi ang hinuli niya ay yung kaaway NIYA, hindi ang kaaway ng mamamayan,” (Pres. Noynoy Aquino has nothing to be proud of because he only captured HIS enemy – NOT the people’s enemy), Desaparecidos secretary general Aya Santos stated. “We want Jovito Palparan, Joel Reyes and Mario Reyes arrested and jailed. It is not enough to increase the reward for the so-called “Big Five”. The question remains, where are the fugitives?”

“The Aquino government is mistaken to think that he can quash the revolutionary movement by illegally arresting its leaders. Until injustices, state violence and repression continue, more Filipinos, especially the oppressed, are ready to join the movement to seek social justice,” Santos said.

Santos is the daughter of Leo Velasco, missing NDFP consultant, who was abducted by suspected government forces in 2007. Her father is likewise protected by JASIG. Velasco remain is still missing to date. In 2012, Pres. Aquino offered a reward of P2 million each for the arrest of the so-called Big Five, among them, Palparan, the Reyes brothers, and former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr.

“We want plunderers, corrupt politicians and butchers punished, not the people who are part of the peace negotiations with the government. They are the real enemies of the people. They are the big fish,” said Ernan Baldomero, Hustisya vice-chairperson.

Ernan is the son of Fernando Baldomero, first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino government.

“They arrest and detain critics and those who challenge the status quo, disregarding demands for justice and genuine reforms for the people.” Baldomero said Pres. Aquino’s stance on the arrest of Tiamzon and Austria, while letting the fugitives remain scot-free “is sickening”.

“We are appalled by Pres. Aquino’s empty bragging, using Tiamzon and Austria as trophies while simply shrugging off people’s clamor for the arrest of Palparan and the Reyeses who committed crimes against the people,” said Baldomero.

“The government has no right to talk peace if it continues to arrest and detain the other party to the negotiations. If BS Aquino wants to address the roots of the armed conflict, the killing, abduction, arrest and torture of dissenters of the government’s anti-people policies should end,” Baldomero added.

Groups Hustisya and Desaparecidos joined calls to resume the peace talks. ###

Aya Santos, Secretary General, Desaparecidos (09088121982, 024354146)
Ernan Baldomero, Vice-Chairperson, Hustisya, (0905-4732505)

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