Karapatan today criticized the Aquino government as “it continues to peddle lies on the human rights situation in the international community, through the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations and, the recent visit of Dept. of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima at the United States, in exchange for US military assistance.”
“Human rights defenders, victims and their relatives, and communities under military attack can attest to the prevailing, if not more emboldened, climate of impunity under Aquino. While the GPH officials claimed at the UN and, among US parliamentarians, that the Aquino government is taking concrete steps to address extrajudicial killings and; that they do not promote the culture of impunity, indigenous peoples’ leader Genesis Ambason was shot and tortured to death by paramilitary groups in Agusan del Sur last week,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
According to Karapatan, Ambason is the 112th victim of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration. Among these are nine children who were victims of EJK, three of them killed during the AFP operations in Maguindanao this August 2012. Also, rampant military operations are conducted in mineral and resource-rich areas to suppress the opposition mounted by farmers and indigenous peoples against the entry of big foreign mining and business operations.
Palabay said “this parody of lies by the Aquino government is meant to justify the release of the more than $13 million in US military assistance to the GPH, which was blocked since 2008, when international solidarity groups brought to fore the issues of extrajudicial killings and other rights violations in the Philippines.”
“Bongbong’s declaration of his presidential ambition and his statement that he considers himself part of the administration by virtue of the LP-NP alliance are both repulsive signs that the vestiges of the impunity persists from Martial Law up to the present Aquino administration. The Marcoses, up to now, are not held accountable for their crimes during the martial law and thus, they sashayed back to positions of power. This impunity is among the results of the continued denial of the Aquino government to render justice to the martial law victims, even its barest form—the passage of the Indemnification bill which, has already gathered dust in Congress,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Palabay added that, “if this will be part of history which will be recorded by the Martial Law Historical Advisory Committee that was recently created by Pres. Aquino, he should act now, pass the Marcos Victims Compensation bill and correct part of the history of the martial law victims.”
Human rights group Karapatan today slammed the forced eviction and violent demolition of homes of some 256 families at Guatemala Street, Brgy. San Isidro in Makati City, as they called on Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr. and the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to immediately stop such operations in the area, including the arrests of residents who participated in the protests yesterday.
Based on the initial report of Karapatan-National Capital Region, eight individuals were arrested, after the residents barricaded the entrances to their community to prevent the local government’s demolition teams and the police from demolishing their homes. The said eviction was conducted to pave the way for the construction of a multi-million peso community complex and basketball court in the area.
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said “the actions of the city government show how inhumane local government officials are in treating urban poor communities, in exchange for such paltry projects at the expense of the people’s rights to livelihood and decent housing.”
Karapatan to Noynoy Aquino: Do your father, ML martyrs justice; end impunity, stop human rights violationsSubmitted on Fri, 09/21/2012 - 16:25
Karapatan today said that “It is a shame how Pres. Noynoy Aquino criticized Marcos and martial law when the same things he enumerated in his speech are the same things that are happening under his government, sans the formal declaration of martial law.”
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said, “it is ridiculous to hear Noynoy Aquino disapprove of the checkpoints during martial law when the same proliferate today, especially in the rural areas; the rounding up and arrests of people who criticized the Marcos government when there are 385 political prisoners to date, 170 of them were arrested and detained under his two year old rule.”
Karapatan said that aside from political prisoners, extrajudicial killings, torture, paramilitary groups, forced evacuation that were highly identified with martial law still exist. “It is the height of hypocrisy and deception for Noynoy to rebuke the Marcos dictatorship for “salvaging” when there are more than a hundred victims of extrajudicial killings under his government. The same Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary groups are the perpetrators. Certainly, there is dissonance between today’s realities and Noynoy’s statement saying, he didn’t want the people to go through the same sufferings his father experienced.” said Palabay.
40 years after the imposition of martial Law
It may not be as visible as it was 40 years ago but, human rights violations that are indelible marks of Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law, continue to this day: illegal arrests and detention, torture, disappearance, extrajudicial killings, bombings and hamletting of communities, forced evacuation, use and proliferation of paramilitary groups, among others.
Making things worse is that people in the government, specially the President, hide behind their previous involvement in the anti-dictatorship struggle; banking on their being victims of martial law to escape accountability and responsibility on the current state of human rights in the country.
Thus, the likes of The Butcher, Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. roam freely. Torturers like Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad are being promoted, despite cases filed against them, similar to Col. Rolando Abadilla, Rodolfo Aguinaldo, and Billy Bibit who were rewarded handsomely by Marcos.
Karapatan today received report of another case of torture and extrajudicial killing of an indigenous leader, Genesis Ambason Saguitan, 23, secretary general of TAGDUMAHAN Lumad organization in the municipality of San Luis, Agusan del Sur. Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay calls the latest incident as “an affirmation of the continuing vestiges of martial law under the Aquino government.”
Saguitan’s relatives found his body mutilated by the perpetrators, identified as members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) attached to the 26th IB Detachment in Sitio Tambo, Brgy. Binikalan, San Luis Agusan del Sur. His body was on the road side, some 130 meters away from the detachment of the 26th IB in Sitio Tambo.
According to the report sent to Karapatan, Almira, Saguitan’s wife who is eight months pregnant with their first child, “wept while cleaning his husband’s body” when she saw the two gunshot wounds in his right chest and another two gunshot wounds in the hip area, near his spine. His face and chest were covered with bruises. Ambason’s teeth are all gone. His head was deformed, and his face unrecognizable because of the bruises due to heavy beating.
On the 40th year of the imposition of martial law
An exhibit of Martial Law memorabilia opens at 4:00 pm today at the University of the Philippines’ Main Library-Filipiniana section as part of the commemoration of the 40th year of the imposition of martial law.
“This is to remember martial law, the dictator, the terror. But more importantly, we want to give tribute to the “fire-starters”, those imbued with the courage, creativity and daringness of the Filipino people’s struggle, those who led the way and offered their lives in the fight against tyranny, oppression, and for national freedom and democracy. We want the youth to remember them and to keep the fire burning until justice and freedom is achieved. Tuloy ang laban!” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
The exhibit, dubbed as Himagsik at Protesta features a collection of magazines, books, underground publications that date as far back as 1964, such as the first handbook of the Kabataan Makabayan, the militant organization in the 1960’s. Also included in the exhibit are items used by known ML activists and revolutionaries, such as journalist Jose Burgos, former Rep. Satur Ocampo, artists Emman and Pete Lacaba, former political prisoner and Makibaka founder Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, activist Fr. Rudy Romano, national artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, to name a few.
From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: political prisoners exist
The Taguig Regional Trial Court today heard the motion of the counsels of Tirso Alcantara and Alan Jazmines to consolidate the charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives to rebellion. The counsels again presented arguments for Alcantara's immediate transfer from military custody to a civilian detention facility citing, among others, the recent decision of the Gumaca RTC ordering the military to transfer Alcantara to the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.
The military failed to present Alcantara during the hearing and the Judge Advocate General Office (JAGO), for the second time, did not attend the court proceedings.
“Even without today’s hearing at the Taguig RTC, Alcantara should now be transferred to a civilian detention facility, specifically at the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame, because the Gumaca Regional Trial Court already ordered the military,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson.
From martial law to Noynoy Aquino, killings of missionaries among poor go on
A movement that seeks justice for Wilhelm Geertman will have its launch today, almost two months after Geertman was killed on July 3, 2012. Geertman, a Dutch lay missionary, worked in Central Luzon as organizer, educator, advocate of genuine land reform for the peasant indigenous people’s rights and environmental protection.
Geertman was killed by two gunmen and another driver riding on a motorcycle. “Despite police claims that the killing was a simple case of robbery, Karapatan believes that the killers were state agents and that Geertman’s case is that of an extrajudicial execution. The pattern that preceded the killing and the manner by which he was killed resembles that of the many cases of extrajudicial killings under Oplan Bantay Laya and now, under Oplan Bayanihan,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan.
Hilao-Enriquez said that “prior to the killing, Geertman and people around him experienced surveillance; there were also threats and branding of Geertman as supporter of the New People’s Army and a member of the National Democratic Front. It’s not at all new. It has been the practice by the government and the military especially under martial law.”