September, 2010

KARAPATAN-SMR Secretary General harassed by 1003rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army in Davao City, Philippines

At around 10:00 AM of 21 September 2010, BGen. Eduardo del Rosario and Datu Ruben Labawan (implicated in the killing of Julius Tamundez, refer to UA No: 2010-09-03) held a press conference at Apongcola, Anda Street, Davao City where the AFP General accused Kelly Delgado of masterminding a plot to liquidate the Eastern Mindano Command spokesperson, Lt. Col. Randolf Cabangbang, allegedly to avenge the abduction and death of Rebelyn Pitao, the daughter of Leoncio Pitao, a known New People's Army (NPA) commander.

Death of mentally disabled farmer due to severe torture by elements of the 8th IBPA in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao

On 27 April 2010, Wilfred, Cristituto and Romie went to Mangasa, Sitio Damitan to  gather “luway” a type of cane that look like rattan used as frames for growing beans.  Wilfred and Cristituto were both hired helps of Romie in his farm.  At around 2:00 PM, they took a break from their work to eat a late lunch when around 24 soldiers suddenly emerged from the thicket and ordered them, at gunpoint, to stay put. 

Four members of a local KMP chapter massacred by elements of the 9th IBPA in Mobo, Masbate

On 7 September 2010, at around 9:00 AM, neighbors Vicente, Richard and Melecio agreed to go hunting in the forested area at the boundary of Brgy. Mapuyo and Brgy. Mabuhay.  Melecio's son, Jonathan, tagged along with them.

After around 12:00 noon, they rested at the house of Eliseo and Rosie Albao.  Rosie and her children were the ones left at home because Eliseo worked as a hired help cutting grass in one of their neighbor's farm.  The four, tired from their hunting, fell asleep right away.  

Remembering the declaration of martial law:

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.

Rights group questions $434M U.S. grant to RP gov't amid continuing human rights violations

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.”  

Morong 43 and hundreds of political prisoners nationwide stage protest fast;

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.” 

KMP member shot to death in front of his wife in Paquibato District Davao City, Philippines

At around 7:30 in the evening of 3 September 2010, Reynaldo Labrador was already resting after a day's driving of a passenger motorcycle.  His children were eating dinner while his wife Leonisa was doing laundry.

Leonisa saw two men standing about a meter away from where she was doing the laundry.  She recognized one of the men as Berto Repe, a CAFGU member.  The other man who was wearing a black jacket and a hat that covered the upper part of his face did not look familiar to her.

KARAPATAN asserts scrapping of VFA for deaths related to US operations

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. 

After 40 long years, ML victims still invisible to the government

“Many of the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship have left us without seeing justice rendered, 40 long years after the imposition of martial law. Even the barest gesture of justice, the Marcos Victims Compensation bill, remains at the backburner. The governments that followed after the dictatorship, from Cory Aquino to her son Noynoy, showed tolerance and gave concessions to the Marcoses. They all should be held accountable for perpetuating the crimes of the Marcoses”
Thus said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, as 68-year old Nicolas Sanchez passed away early this week. Sanchez was a victim of torture, illegal arrest and detention during the infamous sona (zoning of communities) in Brgy. Tatalon, Quezon City in July 23, 1985. The sona was conducted by elements of the Marcos’ Philippine Constabulary, when residents resisted the demolition of their community to give way to the development plan of the Aranetas, in-laws of Marcos’ daughter, Irene. Two persons reportedly died during the incident, while many were arrested, including Sanchez.

Karapatan hits Bacalzo appointment as new PNP chief

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.

KARAPATAN dares CHR to dismiss Negros Oriental official for gross violations


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.

Son of former SELDA coordinator abducted by intelligence agents in Cebu City, Philippines

Elke Bacalso first noticed the surveillance on him on 23 August 2010. He noticed two men following him the entire day. And at around 8:00 PM of 3 September, as he was standing in front of the CIT campus, these two men who at this time were armed, closed in on him and warned him not to waste the time of their “sir” and tried to drag him to the waiting gray van parked near Luzon Lumber just across from where he was standing.

Karapatan junks AFP proposal for "people's participation" in counter-insurgency plan

Karapatan junks AFP proposal for "people's participation" in counter-insurgency plan; 
cites human rights violations in Marihatag, Surigao de Sur

The human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, dismissed current AFP proposals for "people's participation" in counter-insurgency operations as it revealed grave human rights violations in the on-going AFP military campaign in Brgy. Mahaba, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur.

About 164 families with 754 individuals, including 98 children ages 0 to 5 years old and seven pregnant women, in three sitios of Palompon, Boringon and Loknodon of Barangay Mahaba in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur province, Mindanao, were displaced as a result of the military operations under Oplan Bantay-Laya extended by Pres. Aquino.

Troops of the 36th IB PA under Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Rene Canete and elements of the Scout Rangers; Surigao del Sur under PNP Director Quinonez conducted the local operations.

Last August 22, Marihatag local government officials initiated a dialogue between the residents and the government forces.  The commanding officer of the 36th IBPA, Lt. Col. Rene Canete and 1Lt. Serihim Temperante, attended the dialogue as well as the barangay council members of Brgy. Mahaba.  The residents pleaded with the soldiers to leave their community but they refused citing the National Government’s anti-insurgency campaign as justification of their presence.

Residents of Brgy. Mahaba terrorized by Philippine government security forces in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao,

Elements of the 36th IBPA led by MSgt. Alex Abubakar arrived in Brgy. Mahaba at around 10:00 in the morning of 23 March 2010. There were twenty of them the first time but on the following day, seventy more soldiers arrived aboard two 6x6 trucks, 2 hummer jeeps and one Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). They scattered all over the community, occupying the Mahaba Multipurpose Hall, Barangay Hall, Barangay Health Center, Community Based Resource Management Project (CBRMP) office, Day Care Center, Dancing Hall and even the local chapel. They started to hold drinking sprees and film-showings of anticommunist materials. As part of their community “integration,” they started to conduct house-to-house visits and began to do “census” by listing down the names, ages and number of children of the households they visited. They also held mass meetings and openly accused the residents of being members and supporters of the underground and rebel movement and ordered to surrender. The residents were shown videos of rebel returnees and the benefits of returning to the folds of the law. Children were offered candies in return for information about alleged rebel New People’s Army (NPA) members. They were also offered 500 pesos if they can tell the soldiers where the NPAs are hiding. The soldiers also conducted regular patrol around the community.

P-Noy should also take full responsibility for human rights cases

AS SOON as Malacanang announced that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III took full responsibility for the botched police rescue in the August 23 hostage-taking crisis, the human rights alliance KARAPATAN dared the President to “also take full responsibility for the on-going human rights violations committed by the police and the military.”