Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Cases of impunity in the Philippines

Delivered in Plenary - 14th June 2012

Mr President

I too express my deep concern over the reported climate of impunity that has developed in recent years in the Philippines. Of particular concern was the 2009 tragic massacre of 57 individuals, including civil rights campaigners and journalists, participating in a peaceful convoy in Maguindanao. This tragic event illustrates the extent to which the Manila Government is increasingly presiding over a criminal culture of intimidation, extra-judicial killings and widespread corruption.

The Philippines currently ranks just above the notoriously corrupt and failed state of Somalia in terms of press freedom. I therefore urge President Benigno Aquino to respect his country’s commitment to the rule of law and to upholding fundamental human rights by, for instance, instigating a witness protection programme to protect witnesses, and also by fighting very strongly to eliminate all the forced disappearances and all the harassment of the political opposition in what is otherwise a beautiful country.