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Women angry that army let off the hook

Human rights commission drops probe into alleged abduction of rights campaigner

Melissa Roxas (Photo: bulatlat.com) Melissa Roxas (Photo: bulatlat.com)
  • D'Jay Lazaro, Manila
  • Philippines
  • April 26, 2011
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Activists yesterday decried what they call “continued injustice against female victims of human rights violations and those who try to defend them.”

Tanggol Bayi, a women’s rights group, criticized a decision by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights not to pursue allegations against the military in the abduction, torture and detention of Filipino-American rights activist Melissa Roxas.

Various Church and human rights organizations have been calling on the government over the past two years to take up Roxas’ case.

Roxas, a member of leftist group Bayan-USA and of the Los Angeles-based cultural group Habi Arts, was abducted on May 19, 2009 in La Paz, Tarlac.

She was held for at least six days by her abductors and was reportedly subjected to various forms of torture after being accused of being a member of the communist New People’s Army.

The human rights commission, however, said there was “insufficient evidence” to support the conclusion that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines http://www.afp.mil.ph/ held Roxas “captive” and “subjected her to physical and mental maltreatment” and “to pinpoint individual members of the military as possible perpetrators.”

The commission also said it has credible sources of information “that indicate the possibility that members of the New People’s Army committed” the violations against Roxas.

Cristina Palabay, convenor of Tanggol Bayi, said the commission’s decision "gives credence to and parrots the military’s illogical propaganda."

The Court of Appeals in August 2009 affirmed that Roxas' rights were violated.

"The commission’s resolution is a blow to the struggle for justice for victims like Roxas,” Palabay said.
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