For Immediate Release
July 21, 2016
Contact: Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday, July 19, 2016, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ordered the “immediate release from detention” of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), dismissing a plunder case against the former Philippine President. The Supreme Court voted 11-4 to dismiss the case based on presentation of “insufficiency of evidence” from prosecution. GMA has been under hospital arrest since 2012.
Although GMA had been detained based on charges against her in a plunder case, these charges do not encompass the totality of the human rights abuses and crimes against the Filipino people committed during GMA’s presidency from 2001 to 2010. The GMA regime has a history of using force and state terror against the people and those whom her armed forces perceived to be enemies of the state. General Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan was indicted for two counts of kidnapping and serious detention but never prosecuted, which includes the disappearance of women student leaders Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006 under GMA’s presidency. Despite the 1,206 cases of extrajudicial killings and 206 victims of enforced disappearances of activists, human rights workers, and peasants, there have been zero convictions of military personnel.
We must not forget the Ampatuan Massacre, which occurred under GMA’s presidency on November 23, 2009, when 58 people including 32 journalists were killed. The Ampatuan Massacre is considered the single most violent incident in the history of Philippine media. Since the massacre, no one has been held accountable for the murders in a case that clearly perpetuates the culture of impunity and the prolonging of justice for the families of the Ampatuan Massacre victims.
It is evident that GMA’s economic policies have worsened the living conditions of the majority of the Filipino people, including unequal trade agreements with the United States. GABRIELA USA demands the supreme court hold Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for her crimes that have greatly contributed and exacerbated the suffering of the Filipino people, especially women and children.