Philippines to enact law on enforced disappearance

  • Hijacked plane forced to land at Bali airport, says report

    A hijacked Virgin Blue flight has landed at Indonesia's Bali airport, according to Reuters quoting Indonesia's Metro TV. MORE TO COME]]> …

  • Obama to meet Bersih, Islamic Front leaders
    Obama to meet Bersih, Islamic Front leaders

    United States President Barack Obama will meet with leaders of Malaysian civil society movements, including those from the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih), Islamic Renaissance Front and the Bar Council during his visit to Kuala Lumpur this weekend. …

  • Two criminal systems already exist, Gerakan told

    PAS legal bureau chairperson Mohamed Hanipa Maidin was responding to Gerakan's legal notice yesterday to challenge the former's intention to submit a Bill in Parliament to implement hudud law in Kelantan. "Gerakan's allegation outlined in the notice to PAS, that implementing hudud would result in the existence of two systems of criminal justice in the country is, with due respect, an allegation that is rash and baseless. Hanipa ( right ) said "for Gerakan's information", two criminal justice …

  • Selangor set to end water rationing next week

    The Selangor menteri besar expects to lift water rationing for the state and Kuala Lumpur by next week if current efforts to pump fresh water from mining ponds continue to prove successful. "We can declare the rationing discontinued next week if these conditions prevail," MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim told a press conference in Klang today. He said as of today, eight pumps were drawing 400 million litres per day (MLD) of fresh water from alternative sources to help fill the drying Sungai Selangor …

  • 'Court decision on PAA a victory for all Malaysians'

    Human rights defenders welcomed the Court of Appeal's landmark decision which ruled Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), punishing citizens who do not give 10 days' notice before they hold an assembly, to be unconstitutional, but cautioned that there were still some more kinks to be ironed out. Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said that given the Court of Appeal's decision, those previously charged in lower courts over the Black505 rally and other …

  • Water price to go up 20% in Penang
    Water price to go up 20% in Penang

    Penangites can expect to pay 20% more for water under new tariff rates proposed by the state’s water operator. However, PBA Holdings Bhd chief executive officer Jaseni Maidinsa said despite the 20% increase for domestic consumers and 18.8% for trade consumers, the rates remain the lowest in the country. He said the proposed average domestic... …

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - It will soon be a law. Abduction by the state or by its agents is a crime. The Philippines becomes the first country in Asia to define enforced disappearance as a separate criminal offence.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is set to sign Republic Act No. 10350, or the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act, according to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and the author of the bill, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman.

Lagman's brother, Hermon, a labour leader and human rights lawyer, disappeared 34 years ago, at the height of President Ferdinand Marcos' martial rule.

Lagman said that under the new law, enforced disappearance would be a distinct crime separate from kidnapping, serious illegal detention, murder, or any other crime.

The law says that enforced disappearance is committed when a citizen is deprived of liberty by the state or agents of the state, and when information on the whereabouts of the missing is concealed or denied.

It would also goad security officers into being better public servants who respect human rights, according to Lagman.

"The law [would] end the impunity of offenders," Lagman said. "[I]t envisions a new or a better breed of military, police and civilian officials and employees who respect and defend the human rights and civil liberties of the people they are sworn to protect and serve and who observe the rule of law at all times."

Lagman said the enforced disappearance law cannot be suspended even during periods of political instability, or when there is a threat of war, state of war, or any public emergency.

The families of "desaparecidos"-people seized by the state and never seen again-hailed the new law as a "timely and meaningful Christmas gift."

Exemplars

Best known among the disappeared are University of the Philippines students Karen Empe?o and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were seized by gunmen believed to be military agents from their house in Hagonoy town, Bulacan province, on June 26, 2006, and agriculturist Jonas Joseph Burgos, seized by gunmen also believed to be soldiers from a restaurant inside a shopping mall in Quezon City on April 28, 2007.

All three were involved with Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Bulacan (Alliance of Bulacan Farmers), a local chapter of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Farmers Movement of the Philippines).

Their parents have brought criminal charges against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former commander of the 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija province.

Palparan went into hiding after being ordered to stand trial by a court in Bulacan early this year.

It is not clear whether the new law could be applied to the prosecution of Palparan, who is accused of torture, rape, serious physical injuries, arbitrary detention, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats and coercion.

Right to truth

The law also upholds the right to truth, he said.

It requires public officers to give inquiring citizens full information about people under their custody.

It also requires investigating officials who learn that the people they are investigating are victims of enforced disappearance to relay the information to their families, lawyers and concerned human rights groups.

The law also provides free access to the updated register of detained or confined people to those who have a legitimate interest in the data.

All detention centres must have such a register.

The new law, Lagman said, "is a comprehensive legislation that does not only impose penal sanctions, but also provides restorative justice, pecuniary compensation to victims and their families, restitution of honour, and psychosocial rehabilitation for both victims and offenders."

In a statement, the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) welcomed the new law and described it as "a timely and meaningful Christmas gift."

Monitoring

But the group said it would remain vigilant and monitor the enforcement of the new law.

The group said greater challenges may be expected, but it would wait for the promulgation of the implementation rules for the new law.

FIND said it hoped the disappearance law would not go the way of the torture law, which it described as "more honoured in the breach," meaning the torture law is not enforced, not honourably ignored than followed-the meaning of the phrase.

FIND urged Congress to monitor the enforcement of the law.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • 'Smaller' size keeps women loyal to men: Study IANS

    A team of researchers from the US and Kenya found that there was a strange link between the size of the penis and infidelity in a marriage. Contrary to what many men may assume, they found that men with bigger penises are more likely to have wives who cheat on them. …

  • In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle Associated Press
    In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192. …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …