November, 2010

Citizen-based fact-finding mission off to probe botanist's death

An independent citizen-based fact-finding mission, endorsed by the family of the country's top botanist, the late Leonardo Co, and led by the Justice for Leonardo Co Movement, sets off for Kananga, Leyte, today to probe the real cause and circumstances of the death of the renowned scientist and his two companions.

Solidarity Message to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on their 7th National Congress

The human rights advocates under the banner of Karapatan congratulate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on its 7th National Congress.

Your theme, "Fighting Impunity, Advancing Welfare" is very apt at a time when human rights violations are being perpetrated with brazenness and without fear of punishment. Members of the media who show the true picture of the nation are not spared from the violence of those in power who wish to advance their own personal gains. 

Karapatan calls on PNoy for CAFGU-dismantling as part of justice for Ampatuan massacre victims

AS THE NATION commemorates the first anniversary of the November 23 Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, the national alliance of human rights groups, KARAPATAN, called for the dismantling of the Citizen's Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU) and all paramilitary units used by political warlords as their private armies.

Combined military and police elements stormed and raided KARAPATAN office in Daet, Camarines Norte, Bicol, Philippines

At around 10:30 in the morning of 22 November 2010, the combined elements of the Regional PNP and 902nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (902nd IBPA) forcibly entered the office of KARAPATAN-Camarines Norte in F. Pimentel Ave.,Pasig, Brgy. II, Daet.  KARAPATAN-Camarines Norte shares this office with the Makabayan (Nationalist) Coalition and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas -Camarines Norte (KMP or the Philippine Peasant Movement-Camarines Norte). 

KARAPATAN denounces AFP and PNP raid of its Camarines Norte Office

A case of Morong 43 part 2?
KARAPATAN denounces AFP and PNP raid of its Camarines Norte Office: Morong 43 template now being applied to legal offices and other human rights defenders?

The human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, denounced the "Gestapo-style" raid and search conducted by combined  troops of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of the office shared by Karapatan-Camarines Norte, Makabayan and KMP at F Pimentel Ave., Pasig, Brgy II, Daet, Camarines Norte at ten thirty (1030) this morning.

Held in the raid by elements of the Daet Police and the 9th Infantry Division, 902nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army are four activists: Smith Bardon, Denver Bacolod, Mherlo Bermas and Elpidio de Luna.

Bardon is the Chair of KMP (Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Philippant Movement), Bacolod is a KARAPATAN staff member, Bermas is a member of the Kabataan Party List, while de Luna is a former political prisoner just released last October.  Latest update from Daet is that Bardon, Bacolod and  Bermas, as well as de Luna are now together at the Daet PNP.  Bardon is reportedly charged with murder and the three are awaiting inquest tonight as they are held in the police station still without formal charges yet.

Member of a Local Farmers’ Association gunned down in Balayan, Batangas, Philippines

On 7 November 2010, between 7:00 – 8:00 in the morning, Ireneo M. Rodriguez (“Rene” to his friends) was riding his motorcycle on his way to the town of Balayan to visit his children who were staying with his in-laws.  As he was traversing the National Highway, two men on board a motorcycle overtook his motorcycle and shot him using a .45 caliber pistol.  The driver of the motorcycle was wearing a helmet, while the back-rider who shot the victim covered his face with a white handkerchief.

KARAPATAN Monitor July - September 2010

 President Benigno “Noynoy”Aquino III, was elected as the 15th President of the Philippines in May this year, in the midst of the people’s disgust with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rule characterized by fraud, corruption scandals, abuse of power and bloody human rights record.  Noynoy, heir to Cory and Ninoy Aquino who are both publicly admired as icons of democracy, gave a most welcome promise of pagbabago (change) and daang matuwid (a straight path).

But data and statistics mirroring the human rights situation under Noynoy’s presidency in the first quarter (July to September 2010) of his stint in Malacanang do not augur well for the people.  

... So where is the promised change?  

"Killing of the Philippines' top botanist, Leonardo L. Co: another case of shoot first, ask questions later?" -- KARAPATAN

THE KILLING of the country's top botanist, Leonardo L. Co, 56, in Tongonan, Ormoc, Leyte last Monday by Philippine Army soldiers who opened fire on civilians, may be "another case of shoot first, ask questions later," the human rights group KARAPATAN said. 

Brother and witness in the Benjamin Bayles killing harassed by soldiers in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

At around 5:00 PM of 27 October 2010, Vilma E. Tejada was awakened from her nap by a poke of the barrel of an Armalite rifle held by a uniformed soldier purportedly looking for some chickens to buy.  Three soldiers barged into her house while she was resting.  She told them that she was not selling chickens.  The soldier sat down and asked her what is the name of Benjamin Bayles' brother.  Fearing for the safety of Manuel, Vilma said she did not know.  She overheard the other soldiers saying that she was lying but the other one said that they could not force her.

Morong 43 relatives, supporters mount a caravan to Camp Bagong Diwa

Together with members of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, the national human rights alliance Karapatan, today joined a convoy of vehicles that composed a caravan from the QC Memorial Circle to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City where the Morong 43 community health workers are spending their ninth month of illegal detention.

The caravan participated in by different organizations and sectors is being conducted to express support to the healthworkers in their firm struggle for freedom as well as those of other political prisoners languishing in different detention centers in the country and who are persecurted for their political beliefs.  The participants are calling to “Free the 43; Free all poilitical Prisoners!”

It can be recalled that the health workers were  arrested by combined police and Philippine Army troops on February 6, 2010 while conducting a health training in a resort in Morong, Rizal using a very defective irregular warrant issued by a judge from Cavite. The named person in the warrant was not even a member of the Morong 43 nor was he a resident of the resort that was raided. The healthworkers were subjected to torture and degrading treatment and their rights are continually violated that even PNoy has declared their arrest and detention as a “fruit of a poisonous tree,” a situation, he said, which “must be rectified” by the court.   Five of the Morong 43 were subjected to extreme torture to turn them against their companions, separated from the majority of the 43 and are still under military detention in Camp Capinpin, Tanay. 

Karapatan calls on PNoy to act on Peace based on Justice

REACTING to Malacanang’s position that “it will be better for the NDF to visit the Palace with a signed peace agreement,” as announced by Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, and that “the President could not be expected to comment” on the proposed visit,” as stated by Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles, the national alliance of human rights groups in the Philippines, KARAPATAN, called on President Aquino to take a “hands-on action” on the peace process. 

“We are very much concerned about the peace process.  The President should not pass the buck on this all-important issue.  If he closes the door on peace, the gates for more human rights abuses will surely be flung open,” KARAPATAN acting secretary-general Jigs Clamor said.

In his first SONA, the President said that the government is open to resumption of the peace negotiations and in fact, he was asking the  CPP-NPA-NDF:  “Handa na ba kayong maglaan ng kongkretong mungkahi, sa halip na pawang batikos lamang?  (Are you ready with concrete proposals instead of criticism?),” forgetting in the process that there have been several proposals from the NDFP that were never discussed because the previous regime scuttled the peace talks.  Even his desire for a ceasefire before talks has been adequately responded to by the revolutionary group.


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