WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippine Embassy today welcomed the reported conviction of the gunmen involved in two cases of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, saying this underscores Manila’s strong commitment to address human rights violations.
In a statement, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said the convictions should convince the international community and civil society that the Aquino Government is exerting serious efforts to bring perpetrators of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations to justice.
“These convictions are much-awaited developments that show that the Philippines is heading toward the right direction,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he expressed confidence that the Department of Justice would be able to successfully prosecute other reported cases of political killings in the country.
“There is no denying that the Philippines still has a long way to go when it comes to human rights but these two convictions should leave no room for doubt about the Aquino Administration’s firm resolve to put an end to the culture of impunity that pervaded in our country,” Ambassador Cuisia said.
The latest conviction announced on Wednesday by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was that of Marlon Recamata, the confessed gunman in the murder of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega.
Recamata was sentenced by Judge Angelo Rizala of the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court to reclusion perpetua to life imprisonment for shooting Ortega to death on 24 January 2011.
Recamata’s conviction followed that of Clarito Arizobal alias Boy Zapanta, the accused gunman in the killing of Bicol journalist Rowell Endrinal.
Arizobal was found guilty of murder and sentenced to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua by Judge Frank E. Lobrigo of the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City on Monday for killing Endrinal, publisher of the Bicol Metro News and commentator of radio station DZRC, on 11 February 2004. ###