President Arroyo was just awarded the "Medalla de Oro" from Universidad de Alcala in Spain, in recognition of her work to improve the human rights situation in the Philippines.
This makes me, quite literally, feel sick.
Yes, she abolished the death penalty. But to me, that seems a little irrelevant when she has condoned hundreds of extrajudicial executions.
This is the woman who has presided over the worst resurgence of torture, illegal detainment and extrajudicial murder the Philippines has seen since the Marcos dictatorship. The woman who is so bad she almost makes you miss Estrada, who was disgusting and corrupt but at least not on a campaign to murder the entire left. The woman who is currently facing censure from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the UN SR on extrajudicial executions for her absolutely appalling human rights record. The woman whose regime is so obviously complicit in human rights abuses that even the US Senate has felt the need to make (a little tiny portion of) aid contingent on her cleaning up her act.
As for Arroyo's claim that there are 100 cases involving extrajudicial killings being prosecuted, that is, to the best of my knowledge which is pretty damned good on this subject, a bald-faced lie.
And I can't believe she had the nerve to take credit for constituting the Melo Comission and "following its recommendations" when she has absolutely failed to take responsibility for the fairly damning conclusions of the Commission's initial report, and continues to block release of the final version.
I have yet to read anything that gives any clue as to what the people who chose to give Arroyo this award were thinking. It is either shockingly ignorant or shockingly sinister. I'm not sure which is worse.
This would make me absolutely livid on any day. The fact that it comes just as I've finished revisions on my paper on impunity in the post-Marcos Philippines -- a process in which I've been consumed with rereading my own work, interviews I conducted over the last 2 years, and countless reports like the ones I've provided links for above -- is pushing me over the edge.
Did I mention that this makes me sick?