July, 2012

KARAPATAN Monitor April - June 2012

Karapatan Monitor Q2 2012

More than 20 country members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called attention to the continuing extrajudicial killings (EJK), enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights violations (HRVs) and the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines.

On May 29, 2012, the Philippine government went through the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland. Expectedly, the Aquino government played its cards close to its vest as State parties and the international community examined the human rights situation in the Philippines. The GPH delegation tried to gloss over the hard facts on the unabated human rights violations and the reign of impunity in the country as it hyped the enactment of one or two national laws and the approval of some international instruments related to human rights.

Karapatan seeks disqualification of Abang Lingkod partylist

Karapatan today joined Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in filing a complaint at the Commission on Elections for the removal and/or cancellation of registration of Abang Lingkod partylist. The complaint was filed by Wilfredo Marbella, Deputy Secretary General of KMP and Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson. The complaint included a petition to deny due course and/or cancel certificate of nomination. 

The complaint stated that, “Abang Lingkod is not a party-list group of the marginalized and underrepresented peasant/farmer sector“ because Abang Lingkod’s objectives “do not contain anything that relates to peasant/farmer sector and,  none of its incorporator and trustees are peasants/farmers.” On the contrary, “its nominees and leaders possess interest in conflict and adverse to the interests of peasants/farmers.” 

Marie Hilao Enriquez said that Karapatan is specially concerned with Abang Lingkod’s standard bearer, Joseph Stephen Paduano aka Carapali Lualhati, the national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB).  RPA-ABB has been involved with numerous cases of human rights violations, specifically in Negros Occidental and Oriental. It is widely known that RPA-ABB now functions as a paramilitary group.

Aquino’s warped sense of justice: GMA freed, torturer promoted, impunity ignored

“And so this is justice under Aquino --  torturers are given plum positions in the military, and the rich, powerful and notorious human rights violators like Palparan and Arroyo are mockingly free as preying vultures. No wonder, Noynoy deliberately omitted anything on human rights and peace in his SONA, a tacit and dangerous signal for state security forces to continue to prowl, with terror and violence against the people.”

Thus said Karapatan spokesperson Cristina Palabay, after news came out on the court resolution granting bail for former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the designation of Morong 43 torturer Col. Aurelio Baladad as acting commanding officer of the 9th Infantry Division of the Phil. Army, shortly after Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). In his SONA, Aquino heralded the state of “justice” under his administration. 

Post SONA: Noynoy Aquino, zero on human rights on two counts

Karapatan said that yesterday’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) only proved how Noynoy Aquino regards, or more aptly, disregards human rights.

Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Karapatan, said that, “the police brutality that was used against the demonstrators and Aquino’s deafening silence on the increasing number of extrajudicial killings and intensifying military operations that continue to attack the people in the countryside and the reign of impunity provided the real picture of the state of human rights in the country.”

Lies, terror and violence in Aquino’s 3rd SONA

With two years of presidency and three State of the Nation Address (SONA), Pres. Noynoy Aquino has only peddled lies on the human rights situation in the Philippines. He has been, in fact, inflicting terror and violence against the Filipino people.

The second year of the Aquino administration is being punctuated with shamelessly deceptive slogans on economic development and human rights to prop up the administration’s image especially in the international community. But it is clear that the Filipino people have seen the truth behind the cacophony of these lies. The severe landlessness and hunger, the multitudes of jobless and the growing number of homeless are more stinging realities, more visible, more audible and felt than any other PR spin from Malacanang.  Thus, the growing number of impoverished Filipinos had no recourse but to resist and struggle.

Karapatan, SELDA calls on flash mob dancers for political prisoners’ freedom

A day before Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA), Karapatan and SELDA today launched via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnCjfcdJ-vY&feature=youtu.be a call out video for flash mob as part of the campaign to release all political prisoners. Following yesterday’s launch of the “Awit ng mga Detenidong Pulitikal,” by the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), members of Anakbayan in Sampaloc and San Juan  danced to the song that describes the plight of political prisoners and calls for their  immediate release. 

Protestant bishops echo political detainees call for freedom

Eight Bishops from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) expressed support to the ongoing hunger strike/fasting of political prisoners. In a statement, the Bishops urged Pres. Noynoy Aquino “to consider the plight of political detainees under his administration and their call for a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty.”

Karapatan slams Lacierda’s statement on Aquino’s human rights record

(Cristina Palabay, Karapatan spokesperson, on the statement of Malacañang spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Aquino’s human rights record)

Broken promises, blame games, unabated human rights violations – these characterize Malacañang’s response to calls for Pres. Aquino to stop the killings and human rights violations under his administration. 

Malacañang spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s statement shows the Aquino administration’s propensity to squirm out from each and every responsibility for extrajudicial killings and rights violations by blaming a branch of government under its auspices. It is the simply the lamest of excuses, as it disregards the efforts of victims and their families to file cases against rights violators, no thanks to Aquino. It simply manifests this administration’s low regard for the pursuit of justice for the victims and, in putting an end to killings and impunity. With this frame of mind, it is no wonder why Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. remains free from arrest up to this time. 


Karapatan chides Noynoy Aquino to stop acting like there are no political prisoners

A week before Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), political prisoners from Luzon to Mindanao are conducting a one-week fast  to push the call for the release of all political prisoners. 

“It has been two years since we started to campaign and lobby for the release of political prisoners who are in various jails, but President Noynoy Aquino not only ignored our call but also arrested and detained 107 more farmers, indigenous peoples, leaders of organizations and activists, as well as suspected rebels. As of June 30, 2012, there are now 385 political prisoners,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of both Karapatan and SELDA. 

Karapatan said that Noynoy Aquino cannot just shrug off his shoulders, declare that he is different from the past GMA regime and blame it for all the ills besetting his “matuwid na daan” administration. He cannot go on pretending that there are no political prisoners in the country because “he is already responsible for detaining 107 activists based mostly on fabricated charges in the same way as Gloria did through the brutal Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).”

Aquino waging war against the Filipino people

With his two years of presidency and three State of the Nation Address (SONA), Pres. Noynoy Aquino has already done his own version of “unsheathing the sword of war” and has no more pretensions about it.

UN-SRs noted growing number of killings of rights defenders

Human rights group Karapatan today affirmed the observations of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs (UN-SR) on human rights defenders and extrajudicial killings on the “growing number of threats and killings of rights defenders” in the Philippines. The statement by the UN mandate holders was released on July 9, two weeks prior to Phil. Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya and on Extrajudicial Killings, Christof Heyns released the following statement, which can be accessed through http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12333&LangID=E.

No fun for rights workers and people in PH

As the human rights group expresses its condemnation on the recent extrajudicial killing (EJK) of Willem Geertman, Karapatan today said that the human rights situation in the country under the Aquino administration has gone worse.

Willem Geertman 

Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Karapatan said the rights group has documented 95 victims of extrajudicial killings (EJK) from July 2010 to June 30, 2012, with Geertman as the 96th reported victim in the first two years of Aquino. Among the 95 victims, 43 of them were rights workers in various organizations and institutions. Many are farmers, indigenous peoples and environmental activists. 

ARMAN ALBARILLO, a testimony of the Filipino people’s quest for justice

Karapatan is deeply saddened by the death of Arman Arbarillo, a human rights defender and a guerrilla fighter. 

Photo by Pinoy Weekly 

Arman reminds us of the terror of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) and how her favorite butcher, the fugitive Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., left a trail spattered with blood of more than a thousand people killed. Palparan then led the 204th Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that was deployed in the island of Mindoro where Arman’s family lived.

Two years of Aquino presidency: Intensified military operations

AFP modernization budget aggravates HR situation, militarization

“This is where the people’s taxes go—to buy arms and ammunition to protect the interests of big business and landlords and against innocent civilians and those who defend their lives and livelihood,” said Karapatan spokesperson, Cristina Palabay.