MANILA, Philippines — Retired Armed Forces chief Eduardo Año’s assumption as officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government gives him “a badge to kill and arrest more,” a human rights organization said Wednesday, January 10, during a protest at the agency’s Quezon City head office.
Evangeline Herhandez, chair of Hustisya (Victims United for Justice!), worried that “Año will be the main implementor of a more brutal campaign of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte government’s campaign on the war on drugs and the arrest and crackdown of activists and progressives as part of the counterinsurgency program.”
Among others, human rights groups accuse Año of masterminding the abduction of still missing activist Jonas Burgos during the Arroyo regime and, during his stint as a general in Mindanao, of overseeing “the massive militarization of communities and killings of lumad during the Aquino III administration.”
Hustisya noted that, from a military background, Año was being put in charge of the Philippine National Police that “has been notorious in carrying out illegal arrests and unjust detention, making money from bounties and rewards, while inflicting torture and harassment,” aside from thousands of killings in the government’s anti-drug campaign.
At the same time, Hernandez said the appointment of Año and other former military officers to government positions “despite their record of rights violations should always serve as reminders that we should confront the guns pointed by the Duterte government against the people with defiance and resistance.”