Philippines passes law on enforced disappearances
MANILA (AP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has signed a law imposing up to life imprisonment for state agents convicted of being involved in enforced disappearances, the first major human rights legislation under his nearly 3-year-old government.
Mr Aquino signed the law late on Friday, two months after it was passed by Congress, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
The human rights group Karapatan says more than 1,000 political activists and suspected supporters have disappeared since the 1972-1986 Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship, including more than 200 under Mr Aquino's predecessor, Mrs Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It has documented 12 cases of enforced disappearance since 2010 under Mr Aquino.
US-based Human Rights Watch said the new law is the first to criminalise enforced disappearances in Asia and challenged Mr Aquino to "move quickly to enforce" it.