Whenever the issue about Marcos crops up, political pundits are all in agog, for never before have they seen political affiliations from both extremes of the political spectrum coagulate as if to form a new ideology. This kind of political phenomenon is strange, which reason why some cynics refer to it as “only in the Philippines.” It is unusual because the Left represented by the communists and the rightists represented by oligarchy converge to chant the same anti-Marcos slogans.
In other countries, political affiliation is determined by their ideological orientation, and theoreticians would instantaneously point to their class origin as the driving force why they converge as a group. Many political analysts are baffled that they venture out to ask whether being anti-Marcos has become an ideology where the issue has in what Marx would say “become their synthesizing point.”
Admittedly, the issue of human rights remains an effective political tool, and the yellow opposition still finds it applicable to anybody who would attempt to disrupt the political order they want to institutionalize. This explains why the issue of human rights violation has reference to abuses and violations committed by the State against the people. They never thought of it as applicable to other crimes, for rightly there are existing specific laws that deal on people who violate our penal system. Precisely, rebellion is not harshly treated because it is considered a political offense dealing on the right to voice out one’s grievances against the government.
In our case, the oligarchy and their ever-loyal accomplice, the Catholic Church, remains committed to keeping the status quo in the name of peace and tranquillity for as long as the government would stick to its commitment of maintaining their privileges. They would not say a word about violence or equate it as state-sponsored violence to validate human rights violation. To the opposition, human rights violation can only happen if the elected President does not come to terms with them or would dare entertain the idea of reforming society.
Thus, when the idea of reforming society, seen in the clamor to impose a revolutionary government, that automatically heightens the people’s expectations but creates fear in the ranks of the oligarchy and the clerics. As opposition, they would then start looking for issues to attack the government like corruption, human rights violation and dictatorship. On the other hand, the Left takes the situation as an opportunity to intensity their campaign to overthrow the government with an added issue of grave economic inequality. The net result is a misguided increase in violence. Calling President Duterte a dictator or giving him the namesake of another Marcos gives them nostalgia of their past adventurism.
It is noteworthy to observe that the Left, from the communists to the so-called national democrats, seek to introduce structural changes in our society. However, change must be based on their ideological interpretation. The rightists, on the other hand, remain consistent with their position of wanting to prevent any reform that will tend to diminish their privileges. As a compromise, they agree to support each other but only for the limited purpose of overthrowing the elected President.
As opposition to the government intensifies, the latter is accused of human rights violation. This explains why the Liberal Party, the Catholic Church, and elite/oligarchy had to enter into an alliance with the Left and the issue of human rights has become their freeway to attack the government.
Historically, the creation of the CHR came about after the fall of the Marcos administration. In fact, human rights violation is the favorite issue of the US State Department and the CIA against countries targeted for regime change. Those who were detained were encouraged to file charges against the Marcoses, his officials and military officers responsible for the enforcement of martial law. Whether the former detainees wanted to see the Marcoses criminally prosecuted or were just interested in seeking monetary compensation for their incarceration, sufferings or for the death of their relatives, the cases they filed fall under the category of political offenses, and the complainants, if falsely accused, can claim as human rights victims.
In haste of the Cory Aquino government to “endear” herself to the people, she issued Executive Order No. 163 on May 5, 1987 creating the Commission on Human Rights to specifically investigate cases involving the killings, torture, and detention during the marital law period. To make sure her revenge would continue beyond her mortal life, E.O. No. 163 was incorporated in the 1987 Constitution provided for in Article e XIII, Sections 17 to 19.
However, many luminaries and even constitutionalists failed to realize that cases involving extrajudicial killings of drug lords and pushers, even if allegedly supported by President Duterte, do not constitute human rights violation. Rather, our law enforcement authorities who executed that illegal assignment committed a criminal offense of either murder or homicide. Even if there is truth to the allegation of EJKs, still it was the suspects’ right that were violated, and the relatives can readily file a case of physical injuries, or if killed, a corresponding case of murder or homicide.
This explains why others oppose the interventionist attitude of the CHR in investigating cases involving criminal offenses. The public knows that once the CHR enters the picture, the issue becomes politicized that it loses both its credibility and objectivity. Besides, it is not for Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon to arbitrarily classify murder as human rights violation. We have appropriate laws that distinguish criminal cases from human rights violation, and agencies like the NBI that can handle them where the aggrieved parties can have their cases litigated by our regular judicial courts.
If Gascon only re-examined his role, he and his confederates in the opposition would realize that their brouhaha of human rights violation is maliciously intended to generate political noise. Effectively, when Congress reacted to reduce the budget of the CHR to mere Php1,000.00, that decision was meant to point out that its original budget of more than P500 million is inappropriate for a commission that is not doing its job. Worst, it continues to allow itself to be used as a tool by foreign agencies and organizations to mouth propaganda against the very government that feeds it.