Same policy of State Terrorism and Impunity; Persistent Worsening Human Rights Situation
The Filipino People must assert and defend their rights to livelihood, freedom and justice!
Political Killings, abductions, trumped-up charges, illegal arrests, torture, detention and militarization continue with impunity and are getting worse.
We in KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights), together with HUSTISYA!, DESAPARECIDOS, Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP), and SELDA, are crying out for justice with the mass of the Filipino people as we hold President Benigno Simeon Aquino III accountable for the continuing human rights violations under his watch.
We condemn the intensifying wave of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances committed by the state security forces. The first 100 days in office of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III have already claimed the lives of at least 16 victims; the number is about to equal if not surpass the 18 killed in the last six months of the past regime (January-June 2010). Already 2 victims are missing in Surigao del Sur. The manner of the slaying has become even more horrendous -- with houses forcibly entered, victims dragged, tortured and killed right in front of their families and loved ones.
Karapatan strongly condemns the killing of another peasant leader in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental early morning today by the elements of 11th infantry battalion of the Philippine Army. In the initial report from Karapatan Negros, Rene “Toto” Quirante, local chairman of the KAUGMA-ON, a local chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas was shot dead at around two in the morning today in Sitio Amomoyong, Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental. Quirante was one of the six peasant leaders of KAUGMA-ON who have been charged with common crimes in 2008.
THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE of human rights organizations in the Philippines, KARAPATAN, denounced the intensifying military offensive against human rights defenders in Southern Mindanao and other parts of the country.
KARAPATAN cited the life-threatening accusations made by BGen. Eduardo Del Rosario and Datu Ruben Labawan last September 21 in a press conference held in Davao City against Kelly Delgado, Secretary General of KARAPATAN in Southern Mindanao Region (SMR).
Karapatan dares P-Noy to indemnify martial law victims, abandon U.S.-instigated counterinsurgency plans to stop human rights violations and end impunity
COMMEMORATING the declaration of martial law on September 21, the national alliance of human rights groups, KARAPATAN, challenged Pres. Benigno Simeon "PNoy" Aquino III to render the long overdue INDEMNIFICATION of the victims of martial law, ABANDON the US-sponsored counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay-Laya and all other counter-insurgency programs, to stop human rights violations and end impunity.
KARAPATAN chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez, who, together with her family and hundreds of thousands of others suffered greatly during martial law, commented that the horrors of martial law, brought back in by the US-Arroyo regime, are not being dispelled by PNoy! “In fact, the Filipino people may be seeing more of these horrors in the coming days. Instead of scrapping the bloody counter-insurgency Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), which engendered the worst human rights violations under the US-GMA regime, PNoy and his military officers extended this brutal campaign up to the end of this year and announced a new one to be put in place next year,” bewailed Enriquez.
Even as the victims of OBL 1 and 2, like the victims of martial law, are still crying out for justice, the victims under the 83-day-old PNoy administration are increasing. Already, 13 victims of extrajudicial killings under PNoy have been documented by Karapatan; from January-June 2010, there have been 17 victims. Far-flung communities in Negros Oriental, Caraga and Bicol terrorized by AFP troops, have been forced to evacuate for some time because of military operations in their areas.
AS PRES. Benigno Simeon Aquino III flies off to the United States on official visit, the alliance of human rights groups in the Philippines, KARAPATAN, questioned the $434-million USD compact grant by the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the US as a “violation of its own selection criteria” and “encourages governments allied with the US to continue human rights violations as what the US did in the Philippines.”
Filipinos here and abroad call for their immediate release
More than a hundred political prisoners in various detention centers all over the country staged a protest fast to press for their immediate release, and supported by their relatives and human rights advocates.
Around 148 political prisoners from 20 detention facilities in the National Capital Region, Ifugao, Isabela, Tuguegarao City, Bohol, Danao City, Cebu City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Leyte Provincial Jail, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro joined in protest of their continued unjust incarceration. High profile detainees from Camp Crame and the 43 health workers in Camp Bagong Diwa lead the protest fast of political prisoners in Metro Manila that also includes prisoners in New Bilibid Prison, Camp Karingal, and Correctional Institute for Women.
Meanwhile the relatives of the Morong 43, supporters and human rights advocates also staged a sympathy fast in front of the Ninoy Aquino monument in Quezon Avenue. President Aquino’s father, Ninoy Aquino, himself was a former political prisoner during the Marcos dictatorship.
A mass for the Morong 43 at the neaby parish of St.Peters the Apostle was officiated by Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez. Sen. Loren Legarda, Chuman Rights Commissioner Jose Mamauag, former Rep. Liza Maza, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño also attended, together with relatives and other civil libertarians.
“It has been almost one hundred days since President Noynoy Aquino assumed the presidency and yet we haven’t heard any single word from the President about the plight and release of political prisoners who were illegally arrested and detained by the previous Arroyo regime,” said Fr. Dionito Cabillas, secretary general of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA). Dr. Julie Caguiat of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, expressed disgust over the continued illegal detention and plight of the Morong 43. “They we’re detained on the basis of a faulty warrant using fictitious name. Our colleagues were tortured and sexually molested by the military.” Caguiat said. “The Morong 43 should be released now because their incarceration is patently illegal.”
COMMEMORATING today of the historic 1991 Philippine Senate rejection of the extension of U.S. bases, the human rights alliance KARAPATAN called for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) citing the deaths of two Filipinos this year involving US troops.
Gregan Cardeño, 33, signed up as a security guard but was contracted out as an interpreter for US troops by Skylink Security and General Services, a subcontractor of of DynCorp, an American firm that specializes in high-risk contract work for the Pentagon and the US State Department. last January 30, 2010. Cardeño learned of the job opening from a family friend, Capt. Javier Ignacio, head of the AFP’s Military Police of the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City.
On the morning of February 1, 2010, Cardeño was flown from Zamboanga to Marawi. By afternoon, in separate calls to his sister, Clarivel, and his wife, Myrna, he said he wanted out. The following day, according to the Marawi Police and the US troops, Cardeño was found dead inside the barracks of the Philippine Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade at Camp Ranao, Brgy. Datu Saber, Marawi City, where Cardeño was staying as it was the barracks of the US troops where he was supposedly assigned.
THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, Karapatan, reacting to Pres. Aquino's appointment of Gen. Raul Bacalzo to replace Director General Jesus Versoza as the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the move "only created one more blunder in the bumbling police force."
"The PNP received international denigration in the blotched rescue effort during the August 23 hostage-taking crisis. Gen. Bacalzo, as the former head of Task Force Usig to solve the killings of journalists and activists, had not really performed his duty to pin down the culprits in 1,206 cases of extrajudicial killings. Even as a bar topnotcher, justice has not been served by Bacalzo," Karapatan chair Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.
THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, dared the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), chaired by Aquino-appointee Etta Rosales, to dismiss CHR Special Investigator III Jess Cañete in Negros Oriental for violating the Paris Principles adopted by the United Nations in human rights.
"The key elements of the composition of a national institution for human rights are its independence and pluralism. Jess Cañete, as a CHR official, is clearly not fit for the job. He is biased, partial and even malicious in the performance of his supposed duty," said Dennis Abarrientos, Secretary General of Karapatan – Central Visayas.
Special Investigator III Cañete gloated in a Philippine News Agency story that Karapatan is "pathetic" in filing charges against government officials and that it leave Negros Oriental and stay in Negros Occidental.