February, 2018

Justice Dep’t., a factory mill of trumped up charges against activists, critics of Duterte regime

“The Duterte regime is poised to intensify its practice of filing trumped-up charges against leaders and members of progressive organizations as a means to intimidate and harass them. The current administration has imprisoned at least 145 more political prisoners in the country. This form of harassment and targetting of activists is done through the Department of Justice, which churns out lie after lie against those perceived by the Duterte government as its enemies,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Roneo Clamor during a protest action in front of the Department of Justice on February 28, 2018 to call for an end to the filing of trumped-up charges against activists.

Duterte lets loose its wheel of terror in Mindanao

“Consistent with the militarist and fascist tradition of state security forces who came up with the cruel and inhuman wheel of torture, Duterte cooks up his own upgraded and vicious version – the wheel of terror. State terrorism has become more rampant, more apparent as martial law ravages Mindanao. With Duterte’s counterinsurgency program compounded by military rule, the wheel of terror has been set in motion, fully implemented by the state’s entire machinery,“ said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, in a forum on the impact of martial law in indigenous and peasant communities in Mindanao on February 26, 2018 at the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) Ecumenical Center. 

Duterte’s Charter Change violates people’s rights - Karapatan

Once again, charter change is being floated by self-serving politicians loyal to President Rodrigo Duterte, in an attempt to revise the 1987 Philippine Constitution to further benefit their interests. Current proposals in Congress, particularly the PDP-Laban Proposed Federal Constituion and the Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH 8), are shamelessly unabashed in selling out the economy to foreign powers and inserting tyrannical elements to further the agenda of the vanguards of the status quo.

Abduction, illegal arrest and detention and trumped-up charges against trade union organizer Marklen Maojo Maga


Abduction, illegal arrest and detention and trumped-up charges against trade union organizer Marklen Maojo Maga

February 23, 2018

Dear friends,

There is a need to sound the alarm on the frequency and arbitrariness of illegal arrests and detention perpetrated by State security forces in light of the escalating crackdown on activists and trade union and human rights defenders. 

Fascist policies such as the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, the creation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA) on October 11, 2017, and the President’s recent threats of using draconian measures such as the anti-terror law to arrest leaders and members of legal organizations have contributed to an environment that puts the lives and security of human rights defenders, activists, and the Filipino people in general at greater risk. The legal system is increasingly used to jail members and leaders of local organizations on the basis of trumped-up charges. The spate of arrests intensified after Duterte’s pronouncements, with more violations on people’s civil and political rights blatantly perpetrated by the police and the military.

Karapatan condemns killing of peasant leader in Negros

Karapatan strongly condemned the killing of peasant leader Ronald Manlapat, 30 years old and a member of the local chapter of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NSFW) in Hacienda Joefred, Brgy. Luna, Sagay City, Negros Occidental yesterday, February 22 at around 5am. He was shot by an unknown assailant at the back of his head. Previously, Manlapat had been receiving threats for being actively involved  in organizing laborers and farmers in their village.



Free Rafael Baylosis, Marklen Maojo Maga and all political prisoners!

Guillermo Roque, companion of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rafael Baylosis, was released on February 21, 2018, after having posted bail. Baylosis and Roque were illegally arrested by elements of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), PNP-Manila Police District, PNP Intelligence Group and CIDG operatives on January 31, 2018.

Harassment of int’l factfinding mission members shows intent of Duterte regime to cover-up human rights violations

“Harassment and other attacks against human rights defenders during factfinding missions show the intent of the government to cover-up human rights violations. We condemn the recent harassment of international factfinding mission delegates, who were investigating the massacre of eight Lumad leaders in Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

ism harassment 

ism harassment 2 

Duterte’s bounty system, fake NPA surrenderees are forms of organized racket

“The government is at it again, using the ineffective bounty system to resolve armed conflict. Duterte recently made another pronouncement, increasing the bounty for New People’s Army members killed - from PhP20,000, to PhP25,000, to PhP100,000. Such a scheme is short-sighted and flawed, only lending itself to the corrupt nature of state security forces,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Duterte’s ML “every bit fascist, every bit brutal” - Karapatan

“With the martial law declaration in Mindanao, Duterte and his state forces have become every bit as fascist, every bit as brutal, and every bit as fraudulent and deceptive, concocting new and more atrocious ways to commit rights violations in indigenous and peasant communities,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, citing recent cases of abductions, killings, and harassment in different regions in Mindanao.

Duterte regime coddles criminals, parades them as surrenderees

During a dialogue between the Commission on Human Rights and Lumad leaders from various communities in Mindanao, Karapatan raised the issue of members of paramilitary groups, who are at-large for crimes of murder and destructive arson being protected by the government, and even paraded as NPA surrenderees. “This is but a cheap trick to make the government look good and triumphant in its counterinsurgency campaign, even at the price of deceiving the public and deliberately withholding justice from the victims, their families, and their respective communities,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. 

#ConvictPalparan, Justice for all victims of rights violations – Karapatan

“We look forward to the day that this “butcher-criminal” – unremorseful and proud of his record of violations and abuses – will finally be convicted in court,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. 

Today, February 15, 2018, retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan is set to take the witness stand for charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

convict palparan 

Recent arrest of Lumad teacher, part of Duterte regime’s continuing attacks vs indigenous communities

Duterte has relentlessly put the Lumad under attack - their communities bombed and militarized, their schools threatened, and their teachers subjected to trumped-up charges, among other forms of rights violations. The recent arrest of a volunteer teacher in South Cotabato is indicative of a continuing systematic attack on indigenous communities, directed and funded by counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and worsened by the martial law implementation in Mindanao,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.


Duterte incites horrifying war crimes – Karapatan

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has distinguished himself as a frothing-in-the-mouth fascist, who incites the worst violations of international humanitarian law, aside from his exhortations to his State forces to disregard basic human and people’s rights. His recent comments and pronouncements are but the latest of the series of these madman’s display of tyranny, lunacy and machismo,” thus said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay. 

Military rampage in Cagayan Valley results in rights violations

“In Cagayan Valley and in many other parts of the country, the military is taking its offensive against peasant and indigenous communities a notch higher.  Military rule readily creates an environment for repression of people’s rights, as illustrated in reported violations in Cagayan Valley. It is the soldiers’ unwanted presence and activities that endanger residents and cause fear and insecurity in communities,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Release Ferdinand Castillo and all political prisoners

“A year ago, the arrest of National Democratic Front peace consultant Ferdinand Castillo already revealed tell-tale signs of Duterte’s rejection of efforts for the continuation of the peace talks. Duterte’s cozying up to militarists in his Cabinet mark this stark change. Fast forward to today, 145 activists, progressives and civilians, out of the 486 political prisoners, have been put in jail by the regime for their work and advocacy, and Duterte has been unmasked as a tyrant,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Drug war death toll since December, proof of Duterte regime’s continuing murder spree

“Straight from the horse’s mouth, the Philippine National Police admitted that since the resumed involvement of police forces in drug war operations, the death toll has again started to rise. Though the PNP did try to backpedal with another pronouncement stating that since the relaunch of Oplan Tokhang, the campaign has been ‘bloodless’, the inconsistency in both statements are typical follies of a discredited institution which desperately tries to salvage its unredeemable reputation from the muck,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the recent statement of PNP Deputy Spokesperson Supt. Vimilee Madrid on February 9, 2018.

Karapatan condemns attack on alternative media outfit, background check on journalists

Kodao Productions, an alternative news outlet, reported an attack on its website on Friday, February 2, 2018. Since its establishment in 2000, Kodao has covered issues related to indigenous peoples, peasant communities, and human rights violations in rural areas and urban centers. Kodao has extensively covered the peace process between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.


Canada arms deal with PH will abet rights violations in the country – Karapatan

“Canada’s $233 million arms sale of military combat helicopters to the Philippine government will enable and worsen the already dire human rights situation under the Duterte administration. We call on the Canadian people and Filipino migrants in Canada to oppose this arms deal and intensify support for human and people’s rights in the Philippines,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, after the agreement between the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and Philippine military was announced on February 6, 2018. 

Karapatan hits House approval of bill restricting public assembly

The House of Representatives, voting 212-55, approved House Bill No. 6834 on its third and final reading yesterday, February 6, 2018. The said bill is set to replace the Batas Pambansa (BP) 880 or the Public Assembly Act of 1985. 

Under HB 6834, in lieu of securing a permit, rally organizers would need to serve a notice to the mayor, three working days before the protest. The bill will impose graver penalties of 6 months to 6 years imprisonment for rallies without notice, or those held outside the notice’s coverage.

On the SC decision affirming martial law extension in Mindanao

“Just as the Duterte-controlled super majority in Congress colluded to approve the extension of martial law last December 2017, the Supreme Court followed through with a rubber stamp to legitimize martial rule, completing the ingredients for a full-fledged tyranny,” said Karapatan general Cristina Palabay on the SC decision to junk petitions against martial law extension in Mindanao. Today, February 6, 2018, the Supreme Court, voting 10-5, upheld the constitutionality of the martial extension in Mindanao.

PNP-CIDG would put the proponents of tanim-bala to shame - Karapatan

"Living up to their infamous reputation of being fascist scriptwriters, the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has once again proven the repressive, deceitful and detestable anatomy of our police force. Their overused modus operandi of illegally arresting persons without warrant, falsely claiming in flagrante delicto, and then curing said arrest by planting evidence is a tale as old as time,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, referring to the recent arrest of NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and his companion Roque Guillermo Jr. on January 31, 2018. She asserted that evidence against the two were planted. No warrant was presented to Baylosis and Guillermo at the time of their arrest.

Rights groups mount dance protest vs Cha-Cha

Karapatan and SELDA held a dance protest against charter change on February 3, 2018 at the Grandstand, Sunken Garden, UP Diliman, Quezon City. The event, dubbed Cha-cha laban sa Cha-cha, was attended by human rights advocates, martial law veterans, members of progressive organizations, and individuals who have expressed their opposition to Duterte’s charter change.






Release Baylosis and all political prisoners, resume GRP-NDFP peace talks

Karapatan condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of National Democratic of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and his companion Roque Guillermo Jr. on the afternoon of January 31, 2018. Baylosis’ relatives sought Karapatan’s help in locating him, after they received initial reports on his arrest. At 10pm last night, Karapatan dispatched a quick reaction team to the CIDG-NCR office in Camp Crame, Quezon City, where they were able to confirm that Baylosis and Guillermo were arrested and detained. Both are currently detained at the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – NCR inside the premises of Camp Crame, Quezon City. Baylosis, a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Group on Political and Constitutional Reforms, is already 69 years old, and is also suffering from heart ailments.