Media, law schools join crusade to solve EJK cases
Manila (12 February) -- The National Press Club signed on Monday a Memorandum of Agreement with Task Force 211, also known as "Task Force Against Political Violence," the new government body tasked to address the issues of political violence and extra-judicial killings, binding both groups to work hand-in-hand in monitoring the progress or litigation of political violence cases.
On February 2, Task Force 211 also signed a similar MOA with Angeles University Foundation School of Law in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Task Force 211 Chairman Ricardo R. Blancaflor and National Press Club President Roy C. Mabasa sealed Monday's agreement. Meanwhile, the MOA signing on Feb.2 was led by AUF-School of Law's Founding Dean Justice Jose C. Vitug and Defense Undersecretary Alberto E. Valenzuela, Jr. who came as Blancaflor's representative.
Both MOA call for media volunteers and law students of AUF-School of Law to be in partnership with Task Force 211 in monitoring cases involving political violence and extra-judicial killings ("EJK") pending before various prosecutor's offices and courts nationwide, all in the interest of transparency.
Under the MOA, accredited volunteers from the media and law schools shall personally attend the scheduled hearings of cases being monitored, apprise themselves of the proceedings, and record the incidents that transpire in the cases' respective Monitoring Kits.
For its part, Task Force 211 is under obligation to share information and documents regarding cases identified and validated as involving political violence and/or EJK.
It can be recalled that Task Force 211 first signed a MOA with Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law on December 19, 2007. Law students of Lyceum who volunteered for the program are now monitoring EJK cases.
"We are calling on everyone concerned about the situation to contribute pro-actively in this particular endeavor," stressed Blancaflor. Believing that a "whole-society" approach to the problem is the only solution, the Task Force issued an invitation to various law schools, NGOs, the media, and even the civil group Karapatan to assist it to once and for all solve the problem of human rights violations, especially extra-judicial killings, unexplained disappearances and political violence.
Task Force 211 is a Presidential Task Force created under the virtue of Administrative Order No. 211 dated November 22, 2007. Its mandate is to "harness and mobilize government agencies, political groups, the religious, civil society and sectoral organizations and the public for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of political violence, the care and protection of people and communities victimized and threatened with violence, and the promotion of a culture of opposed to violence and for the advancement of reconciliation and peace."
Blancaflor, who is also Undersecretary of the Department of Justice, lauds the media volunteers and law schools. "These media volunteers and law schools want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. That should set an example for the rest of us," he said. (PIA-MMIO) [top]