Trigger warning: Murder, rape, killings, assault
Violence, in whatever form, is never acceptable. Beyond the serious consequences it inflicts upon those directly affected, the culture of fear and insecurity arising from violent incidents also impacts communities and further highlights the role of government in protecting the rights of all, including the rights to life, liberty, and security.
As the country’s independent national human rights institution, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses grave alarm over the string of incidences of violence among civilians, especially concerning vulnerable sectors. We specifically note four separate cases reported only this 9 to 13 March 2023 targeting women and children.
The first case involves a 67-year-old woman who was found dead in an isolated area in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Preliminary police investigation and medical autopsy reveal that the victim was beaten on the head allegedly by her own son and was then stuffed inside a box. The National Bureau of Investigation also adds that the victim’s grandson, aged six, was a witness to the gruesome murder.
Another brutal killing concerns 22-year old victim Kimberly Achas and her live-in partner Elson Jamisola. A CCTV video circulating online shows the male perpetrator beating and stabbing the victim to death. According to law enforcement authorities, Jamisola attempted to flee but was immediately arrested and is now facing parricide charges.
The Commission also deplores the alleged rape of a 13-year old student by her own grandfather. News reports say that the victim disclosed to her teacher the alleged sexual assault, which began since she was nine years old.
Finally, CHR denounces the killing of four siblings, aged six to 14, in Trece Martires, Cavite. Provincial police say that the siblings were allegedly stabbed to death by their stepfather before eventually committing suicide and leaving behind a message written in his own blood. Authorities state that the children’s mother works overseas and cites jealousy as a possible motive for the crime.
As the country’s Gender Ombud, CHR strongly condemns these violent acts and stands with the victims’ families in their calls for swift justice and redress. Parallel to police probes, CHR is already conducting its independent motu proprio investigations on the aforementioned cases.
In consonance also with our mandate as watchdog and monitor of the government with respect to human rights and its obligations, the Commission urges leaders to condemn to the highest degree the gravity and frequency of these abhorrent incidents. We must vehemently reject the normalisation of violence against women and work towards building a nation where violence is not the norm, but an exception that is swiftly and effectively dealt with.
We remind the government that, as a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Philippine government must uphold women and children’s rights through urgent action. There are also a number of domestic laws that protect women and children, such as the 1987 Constitution, the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act, and Anti-Rape Act act among others, that must be throughly implemented for the protection of these vulnerable sectors.
The Commission underscores that the government must take proactive measures to address the root causes of violence such as poverty, inequality, and social exclusion, alongside ensuring justice for all victims of human rights abuse and violations and effective support to victims and survivors, as a crucial component of fulfilling its human rights obligations.###
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