VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Netizens revive old, FALSE allegations against CHR

A list of false allegations against the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) posted by comedian and actress Beverly Salviejo four years ago is being revived by social media users to this day.

In a graphic that carried text from the artist’s now-deleted Facebook (FB) post from 2017, the CHR was accused of being “biased” in favor of the Aquino family for allegedly “not responding” to the Mendiola massacre in 1987, for “not protesting” against the killing of farmers in the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac in 2004, and for “not shouting and raising their voice” against the murder of farmers in Kidapawan in early 2016.

In April last year, when Salviejo’s false remarks were also revived, the CHR published an FB post providing relevant context, documents, and investigation reports refuting each allegation.

A reader asked VERA Files Fact Check to verify the claims below:

On the Hacienda Luisita massacre

Claim

Rating

The CHR “did not protest” when farmers were killed and massacred in Hacienda Luisita

False

During an April 29, 2014 field investigation led by then-CHR Commissioner Norberto dela Cruz and then-Region III Director Jasmin Navarro Regino, the government rights commission confirmed that grave rights violations happened in the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre.

In a 2008 speech to the Food and Agriculture Organization, then-CHR commissioner Leila de Lima said the rights agency investigated Hacienda Luisita over land issues and reports of labor violations. She added that the CHR issued a resolution condemning the massacre as violations of the right to life and peaceful assembly of the victims.

Seven farmers were murdered and 121 people were injured on Nov. 16, 2004 in Hacienda Luisita, a plantation owned by the Cojuangco family in Capas, Tarlac. The incident happened ten days after a local farmers’ union staged a strike to protest against their P9.50 daily wage and the retrenchment of dozens of workers, according to news reports.

On the Kidapawan Massacre

Claim

Rating

The CHR “did not shout and raise their voices” when farmers in Kidapawan were killed and others imprisoned

False

The CHR conducted an investigation into the violence that ensued April 1, 2016 in Cotabato’s Kidapawan City which left two protesters dead, two cops seriously wounded, and 179 farmers and police officers injured.

Both parties were found guilty of violence: police used excessive and unjustified force on the protesters contrary to prescribed protocol, and protesters did pounce on two police officers and hit them with wooden clubs. The CHR also condemned the “instrumentalization of the poor and vulnerable” after finding that a number of farmers were “induced to join the protest action through deceit.”

The incident happened after several members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas held a protest on a national highway to demand for rice and aid from the government after their harvest was affected by drought caused by the dry season.

On the Mendiola massacre

Claim

Rating

The CHR “did not respond” when farmers were killed in a rally at Mendiola during former president Corazon Aquino’s term

Needs Context

The Mendiola Massacre happened four months before the CHR was established, hence the national human rights institution “cannot prevent a crime that occurred prior to its establishment,” it wrote in its FB post addressing Salviejo’s claims.

CHR, an independent national human rights institution, was established on May 5, 1987 under Executive Order No. 163 signed by former president Corazon Aquino.

The massacre happened on Jan. 22, 1987, when an estimated 10,000 farmers marched to the Malacañang Palace calling for genuine land reform, but were violently dispersed by state forces. At least 12 people were killed while 51 others were injured.

The quote card with the erroneous claims was first posted on Sept. 15, 2017 by FB page Rodrigo Duterte Thumbs-Up Fever 2016, which claims to be the official page of the partisan group Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee.

Just this Sept. 21, Facebook page Ken D. Dumapay revived a copy of the quote card it published in 2018, on the observance of the 49th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Several other accounts reshared the page’s quote quard.

FB page The Lumad Times and two other netizens also reuploaded the false graphic.

FB page Ken D. Dumapay was created in March 2018, The Lumad Times in April 2020, and Rodrigo Duterte Thumbs-Up Fever 2016 in December 2014.


(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Send us a message here or here.

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