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Injustice, continuing peasant killings and prevailing landlessness mark 14th year of Hacienda Luisita massacre

“Justice remains elusive for the seven farmers massacred at the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita on November 16, 2004.  The fact that nine sugar farmworkers were also massacred in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last month is not lost on us. This is a glaring indication of the prevailing landlessness in the country and the worsening situation of our farmers and farm workers, as well as the climate of impunity carefully preserved by those in power. Gloria Arroyo is sitting comfortably in Congress while the Aquinos are careful not to draw any more attention to themselves; the victims’ relatives and the Hacienda Luisita farm workers, however, are still shouting for justice and accountability,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Detention of peace consultant at Camp Karingal reveals degrading prison conditions

Fides Lim, wife of detained National Democratic Front (NDF) peace consultant continues to decry the illegal arrest and detention of her 69-year-old husband Vicente Ladlad at Camp Karingal, simultaneously disclosing the poor prison conditions that her husband and other detainees are made to endure. Ladlad was arrested on November 8, 2018, along with couple Alberto Villamor, 64, and Virginia Villamor, 67. The three were charged with trumped-up non-bailable cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. 
 

Tanggol Bayi: ‘Palit-puri’ and other such schemes prove uniformed men the foremost violator of women’s rights

Tanggol Bayi, an association of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines, strongly condemns the succession of violence against women by State forces amid the implementation of the Duterte government’s anti-people policies, foremost the war on drugs and counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

The drug war did not only spin a series of brutal killings perpetrated by police forces who hide behind their twisted narratives. This campaign by the Duterte regime also gave rise to cases of gross violence against women and children committed with impunity. Several non-government organizations revealed a heinous scheme called sex-for-freedom scheme or “palit-puri” rampant among police operations, but have exponentially worsened amid the drug war. This involves police operatives using the drug war to rape women, by way of bargaining unwanted sexual intercourse with suspected women drug suspects or women relatives of persons they accuse of peddling drugs in exchange for freedom. 

Arrest the thief and murderer Imelda Marcos! Release all political prisoners!

When peasant Bernabe Ocasla, 66, was brought to a hospital in November 2016, he had already been detained for nine years for fabricated charges. He had a cardiac arrest while incarcerated at the Manila City Jail, and yet even in the hospital, his jail guards kept him handcuffed to his bed and didn’t allow the nurses and his relatives to change his yellow shirt for “fear” that he might escape. Ocasla died on November 30, 2016, after he suffered another cardiac arrest and had been in a coma.  

Human rights worker and peasant Gerardo dela Pena was 74 when he was wrongly convicted in a Bicol court. He was arrested by the 49th Infantry Battalion in Brgy. Matango, Vinzons, Camarines Norte on March 21, 2013 and charged with false cases of murder along with five other John Does. He was detained at the provincial jail for more than a year and was immediately brought to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on July 2014 after his conviction. He said he was given only one chance to speak in court and was convicted shortly after his case was heard. He is enduring hypertension and cataract while in detention. 

Karapatan on the recent Sandiganbayan ruling on Imelda Marcos

We welcome the recent Sandiganbayan ruling finding Imelda Marcos guilty under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as among the victories by the Filipino people in obtaining justice and accountability against the Marcos dictatorship. We however lament that it had to take 22 long years since the ouster of Marcos to attain such a ruling under the Philippine justice system. We are also ambivalent on the implementation of such a ruling based on two issues: 1) the current regime’s coddling and political rehabilitation of the Marcoses and 2) the machinations of the Marcoses to evade accountability.