A HUMAN rights watchdog will field its own team in three areas of concern in Metro Manila—Manila, Caloocan City and Makati City—to monitor election-related violations of human rights.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates said tension can be expected to grip the three areas of concerns because of intense political rivalry, according to Rose Trajano of PAHRA.
“We will stay vigilant over any incidence of killings, torture, and illegal arrest and detention in many areas of Manila, Caloocan and Makati,” Trajano told The Standard during the forum “Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan” at the Commission on Human Rights in Quezon City. “They have been considered election hot spots even in the past elections.”
The mayoralty race in Manila is a three-way battle among Mayor Joseph Estrada, former mayor Alfredo Lim and District 5 Rep. Amado Bagatsing.
In Caloocan, the incumbent representative Enrico Echiverri is pitted against the incumbent Mayor Oscar Malapitan.
Makati Rep. Abigail Binay is up against Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña.
“Political rivalry is intense in the three metro’s election hot spots,” Trajano said.
The Commission on Elections, in a memorandum of agreement, has allowed Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan composed of PAHRA, Lente, Dakila and CHR to go inside the polling precincts, observe and document any election-related human rights violations.
CHR chairman Chito Gascon said they are still waiting for Comelec’s final instruction on what would happen if ballots would run out in a polling precinct.
“As we move closer to May 9, voters are more prone to threats, intimidation. We would like to call on the security forces to ensure that this problem would be prevented. Also, the threat to life and security of the candidates’ increases, hence we would like to remind them again to report to the police immediately on the first sign of threat to their or their supporters’ persons,” he pointed out.
Rash Caritativo of Dakila said online threats, abuse, harassment and other politically motivated violence are also a form of human rights violations.
“Online bullying in connection with the election is against the law and is violation of one’s rights,” she told The Standard.