COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
JUNE 4, 2008
MRS. OLIVIA JAVIER TO CHR: WE ARE RECEIVING THREATS
Father Roberto P. Reyes, also known as the `Running Priest’ and Researcher- member of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) , Hong Kong Chapter, today paid a visit to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Leila M. De Lima.
While in the Office of the Chairperson, Father Reyes lighted a candle and proceeded to pray silently, together with the Chair and some other people present. and After the one minute prayer, the `running priest’ gave a piece of paper to the CHR head containing the Statement of Support along with a bunch of red roses. In turn, Chairperson De Lima conveyed her gratefulness for the support extended to her by the visiting priest.
In the Statement of Support and Appreciation, the AHRC expressed its message of full cooperation and collaboration with the Commission pertaining to the investigation in the killings in Tanauan, Batangas of the three (3) suspected members of a syndicate alleged to be personalities behind the infamous RCBC-Cabuyao, Laguna robbery-murder incident that took the lives of nine (9) RCBC Employees.
Initial report of the CHR Composite Team saw no traces of shooting incident and it was most probable that in the absence of traces of shootout, it was a rubout since according to Chairperson De Lima, there is no `middle ground “ when it comes to incidents like these.
Speaking on the development of the case, Chairperson De Lima stressed that the bigger Composite Team she deployed to Batangas has yet to submit their Final Report. She said that she was able to meet the families of the fatalities when the relatives of the slain men, former Barangay Captain Vivencio Javier, and Rolando Lachica came to the CHR yesterday to ask protection from the Commission.
According to Mrs. Olivia Javier, widow of the late Bgy. Official Vivencio Javier, they have been receiving threats in different forms since the demise of their loved one. Chairperson De Lima however admitted that the CHR has limited powers, and resources pertaining to the protection of witnesses involving human rights violations However, she informed the widow and other relatives present ,
that she already sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Justice requesting for a Witness Protection for the witnesses in the Tanauan, Batangas incident adding that” it should have also the consent of the witnesses themselves.”
The CHR Chairperson further said that she also wrote the Hon. Lorenzo Tanada, lll, Chairman, House Committee on Human Rights, requesting for the Committee to look into the possibility of conducting a public inquiry, alone or jointly with the CHR and/or with other concerned Committees. Public hearings, according to Chairperson De Lima “will help ensure protection for the lives of the witnesses who will be faced with various threats to dissuade them from submitting their testimonies.” She added that collaboration, cooperation with these government institutions could shed light on the matter, bring justice to the victims and propose relevant legislation to prevent similar occurrences in the future. xxx