April, 2010

KARAPATAN Monitor January - March 2010

The first quarter of 2010 is marked by mass arrest, detention and torture of health workers and farmers. Arresting security forces utilized fabricated charges and unfounded accusations. Consistent with 2010 as the end-year of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration's Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), extrajudicial killing and harassment and vilification of legal organizations and personalities continue. Of special concern is the unexplained death of a civilian employee in the U.S. military barracks in Marawi City.

Karapatan slams moves to prevent CHR investigations on the Morong 43

The human rights alliance Karapatan, along with relatives and supporters of the Morong 43, trooped to the Court of Appeals (CA) hearing on the petition to block the investigations being conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the illegal arrest and detention of the 43 health workers.

On April 24, the 7th Division of the CA ordered the CHR to stop its hearings with a 60-day temporary restraining order, in response to a petition filed by Morong Judge Mangrobang, the judge who approved the defective warrant used to illegally arrest the healthworkers, and Atty. Cyrus Jurado, the lawyer claiming to represent five of the 43 health workers.  “This is preposterous and unacceptable; where will the people now turn to in cases of human rights violations if the courts curtail the mandate of a constitutional body such as the CHR?,” bewailed Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

KABATAAN Partylist 3rd nominee harassed in Catbalogan, Samar, Philippines

On April 16, 2010, Atty. Katrina Castillo’s mother received an envelope addressed to her daughter with a note that says, “To:  Atty. Katrina “Kat-kat” Castillo, second nominee (sic) Kabataan Partylist” from a certain Ronaldo I. Picardal of  Brgy. Tizon, Tarangnan, Samar.  

The envelope contained a black ribbon and a printed note that says:

“It seems that you are not truthful and serious in serving the public. We found out that you continue your alliance with the enemies of democracy, progress and peace - the CPP-NPA-NDF and its partylists.  Your alliance with them is an admission that you are one of them who adhere to the nonsense communism. WITH THIS LETTER IS A BLACK RIBBON THAT WILL REMIND YOU THAT YOUR LIFE, AS WELL AS YOUR FAMILY, IS ONLY A PRIVILEGE. IF DEATH BECOMES YOU, MAY YOU REST IN PEACE.  For the Filipino people, country, and democracy.”

Rights groups and advocates fast in support of the Morong 43

Today, the human righs alliance, Karapatan, salutes and joins the health workers, collectively known as Morong 43, in their fasting to fight for their and other political prisoners’ freedom and assert their rights to be treated humanely, free from torture, cruel and degrading treatment as provided for in the Convention against Torture of the United Nations, to which the Philippine government is a signatory.

Karapatan also unites with and strongly supports the relatives of the Morong 43 as well as other sectors, in conducting a solidarity fasting, to express sympathy and support to the struggle being waged by the Morong 43 and other political prisoners.  

“The Morong 43 must be commended and supported in doing this fasting as a higher form of struggle in their fight for freedom and assertion of their rights to be treated humanely while in prison.  We, in Karapatan, condemn the military’s attempt to trivialize this struggle as “mere theatrics” just so to downplay this act of protest.  The military is afraid that their brazen disregard of the basic rights of the people will be further exposed in this fasting,” said ex-political detainee and Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez. 

Rights group slams military’s circus of retaining custody of the Morong 43 political detainees!

The human rights group Karapatan strongly denounces the scripted show that the military of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police have concocted and executed in the supposed “transfer” of the Morong 43 political detainees from Camp Capinpin to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

It was the most cruel show in the land, with the Philippine Army going through the motions of bringing the detainees in buses (shattering their often-cited reason of not having resources for failing to bring the detainees to the hearing of the CA or the CHR) complete with escorts, parading them at the grounds of the Camp Crame only to be hustled back to Camp Capinpin, and the relatives who were happily looking forward to seeing and holding their loved ones were left holding empty air and in tears!

A closer look into the events of the past two days will show that these government entities – the Philippine Army and the PNP – have mounted a successfully-executed “operation” of thwarting the long-overdue transfer of the political detainees to a regular custodial facility away from the clutches of the military.  

 

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