As the Army prepares to go into fresh offensives against the NPA, CHR’s Gascon reminds the soldiers to protect the rebels human rights.
Gascon’s statement did not make some people happy, especially lawyer Bruce Rivera who took to Facebook to admonish the CHR head and jolt him back to his senses.
On Facebook, Rivera writes:
RE: CHITO GASCON’S STATEMENT
I have so many friends who are leftist and even communists who want to protect their comrades and I do understand that. However, being a public official, I detest your statement to remind our soldiers to protect the human rights of the NPA because your are just taking advantage of the situation. That statement does not come from a place of concern but sowing suspicion and a prelude to an attack on the very government you are serving.
First of all, in the conflict, both the soldiers and the rebels have the capacity to kill. So by reminding, no, admonishing our soldiers to protect the rebels human rights while not telling the rebels to do the same is actually empowering the rebels at the expense of national interest. Remind both of the parties. Why? Because when a soldier commits HR violations, it is very apparent. However, when the rebels commit human rights violations, they can claim it as collateral damage in the fight of their cause. Now, you make the soldiers worry about it and the rebels not worry about it by your careless rhetoric.
Second, what you are saying is really without regard for existing laws. Remember that in Umil vs. Ramos, the Supreme Court made a ruling that rebellion is a continuing offense. Meaning, even if the rebel is just sitting down, he is still committing the act of rebellion. So if the soldier will not arrest and neutralize a rebel because he is taking a nap, he would have committed a crime. But if the rebel attacks a soldier while he is sleeping or on his way home to his family, it is okey? This is even made more alarming because the CPP/NPA was declared a terror group even before the issue with PRD. And what is the international policy towards terror groups, do not negotiate. Your ally, Bill Clinton made it very clear. So what are you saying?
Third, we are in a situation where incidiary words are sensitive. The NPA is angry. So is the AFP. They are engaged in a war where bitter anger and resentment has developed. It is not only rebels who lost families but soldiers as well. The last thing we should do is anger one camp to spark flames of vengeance. You are the CHR Chief but at this point in time, stop acting as a cheer leader for the rebels.
Sir Gascon, and I am calling you sir because you are still in a position, the reason you are still Commission of CHR is because as lawyer, PRD knows the ruling in CHR vs. Cariño, that the CHR is a toothless tiger.
Source: Bruce Villafuerte Rivera