After 11 years, still no justice for Beng

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The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the oldest and widest alliance of tertiary student publications in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region, demands justice for its slain alumna on her 11th death anniversary.

Benjanline ‘Beng’ Hernandez was the Vice-President for Mindanao of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and Secretary General of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region when she was killed by paramilitary forces together with three others during a fact-finding mission in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato on April 5, 2002.

As a campus journalist and human rights advocate, Beng was only doing what is right. But state elements continue to suppress the democratic rights and freedoms of the people, keeping the truth from being exposed.

Despite the passage of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) resolution regarding the accountability of the Philippine government, particularly of the Arroyo administration, to Beng’s death, Kidapawan Regional Trial Court acquitted the suspects.

After 11 years, nothing has changed. Pres. Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan continues to sow terror in provinces where the military has been deployed resulting to various human rights violations such as harassment and forced evacuation in different parts of the country. Victims of torture, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings are still reported in the current regime.

In Aquino’s three years in office, numbers of human rights violations keep on piling up but the government, specially the Commission on Human Rights, turns a blind eye on the sufferings of the Filipino people under military elements.

Like Beng, the Filipino people need justice. ###

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