THE MILITANT COURAGE today challenged new Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff to Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri and the Philippine Army to live up to their claims of maintaining respect for human rights in all their operations and disprove the harassment cases COURAGE filed against the military.
In a statement, COURAGE National President Ferdinand Gaite said it is easier said than done, the military can always feign respect but the concrete cases betray them.
Gaite cited the more than 20 harassment cases they have already filed at the Commission on Human Rights against military personnel including those who introduced themselves as from the Philippine Army.
These stem from the poison letters, unwelcome visits and surveillance of COURAGE union leaders and members of the National Secretariat.
The leader also expressed concern on the indigenous peoples in Mindanao who fled their houses and refused to send their children to schools because the military have stayed in them, used them as barracks.
“We are government workers, human rights defenders and ordinary people. We do not have arms and yet the military have attacked us in various ways. As former head of the PA when these happened and now as the new AFP Chief, Iriberri has a lot of explaining to do. And it would take more than words to disprove our claims,” Gaite stressed.
COURAGE has already cases at the Commission on Human Rights on June 8 consisting of poison letters received by union leaders and another on June 29 mostly visits from unidentified men claiming to be military agents.
They are set to file a Petition for a Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data at the Supreme Court this week as the harassment and threats persists.
COURAGE reported another NFA Employees Association officer received a call on his cellphone from a soldier claiming to be Sgt. Pena.
Two men in plain clothes introduced themselves as personnel of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency “visited” the office of the NFA in Daet, Camarines Norte asking for an update on the Conference of the National Board of the union which was held in Legaspi City.
At that time, COURAGE National President Gaite and the NFAEA officers are on their way to Daet Camarines Norte to visit the COURAGE 2, Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, both national organizers of COURAGE who are detained at the Provincial Jail for trumped-up charges since 2012.PR