August, 2012

Karapatan calls for the enactment of anti-disappearance bill

From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: enforced disappearance continue

As families and friends of the disappeared call for the surfacing and justice for their loved ones today, Karapatan challenged Pres. Noynoy Aquino to sign into law the long-pending legislation criminalizing the act of enforced or involuntary disappearances and penalizing state security forces and government officials involved in the perpetuation of such acts.

Families of Desaparecidos 

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said it is critical for Congress and Aquino to pass House Bill 98, as the 15th session draws to a close for the coming election. “The measure appears as ignored as the bill for justice and compensation for victims during Martial Law. With Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., the butcher behind the abduction of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, still on the loose, these, and more, reflect the administration’s very low regard for human rights,” she said. 

Noynoy Mosaic of Desaparecidos 

Where is Ninoy in Noynoy?

As the nation today commemorates the 29th death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino and reflects on the ideals of the man,Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said, “with the current human rights situation in the country — the bombings of communities, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention — we can’t help but wonder, if there is a Ninoy in each one of us, where is Ninoy in Noynoy?”

Ninoy Aquino, Pres. Noynoy’s father, was a prominent figure in the Filipino people’s struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. He was a high-profile political prisoner during martial law. “Like the 385 political prisoners at present, Ninoy was jailed because of trumped up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and other criminal offenses. Despite the opportunity to correct this practice and stop human rights violations, as he witnessed the suffering of his own father, Noynoy refused to release all the political prisoners. In fact, he has perpetuated the same forms of injustice inflicted against their family. Like the dictator Marcos, he declared that there are no political prisoners at present,” added Palabay.

Karapatan, as of June 30, 2012, has documented 170 political prisoners arrested and detained in the two years of Noynoy’s presidency.

Free Iosu Uribetxeberria! Free All Basque Political Prisoners

We in SELDA (organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines), KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights in the Philippines and the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP) – all member organizations of the International League of People’s Struggle in the Philippine -- strongly support the call to release Basque political prisoner Iosu Uribetxeberria and all other Basque political prisoners. 

The continued detention of Uribetxeberria, who is suffering from terminal cancer, is inhumane and violates his basic human rights. 

2M for Palparan a PR stunt? --Karapatan

“The reported increase to P2 million of the bounty for Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan and former Gov. Joel Reyes is an exercise in futility unless the Aquino government genuinely resolves to go after and arrest these notorious rights violators and make accountable even those who are protecting them such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and possibly, powerful politicians and businesses. Who can be most obvious coddlers of these criminals than the institutions which benefitted from their heinous acts?”

Karapatan Congress delegates harassed

View from inside the bus 

Around 2PM this afternoon, human rights workers who attended the Karapatan 4th National Congress aboard a bus from Tagaytay City to Manila were arbitrarily stopped and held by the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Cavite along Tagaytay Road in Silang, in front of the PNP Academy.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan’s newly-elected Secretary General, said, “This is sheer harassment. The four-man team were not able to show us any written order nor give a reason, valid or not, why they stopped us. They insisted they only received orders to stop us but had to ask their headquarters for the reason why. They were even armed with M16 rifles.”

Cavite Police harassment

Taking photos 

While the police team was calling the headquarters through a handheld radio, Karapatan members said they heard a man’s voice at the other end saying ‘member ng Karapatan ang sakay d’yan!’  Bigyan ng feedback si ano,… CPDO at siya ang nagbigay ng instruction sa atin.”(Italicized text taken from video transcript.)

Karapatan 4TH Congress: Delegates take up challenge amid rights violations

The two-day 4th Congress of Karapatan concluded on August 15, with close to 150 human rights defenders from the Karapatan chapters, sectoral organizations and other allied organizations in attendance. 

Ka Satur Ocampo, Makabayan Coalition President, the Congress’ keynote speaker, called on the delegates to “continue to persevere and courageously defend the people’s rights as a way of paying tribute to the people’s heroes and martyrs,” especially those from the ranks of Karapatan and its allied organizations. 

Karapatan calls for immediate release of Tirso Alcantara amid his transfer to civilian detention facility

Karapatan today renewed its call for the immediate release of Tirso Alcantara, a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, as they received reports that the Gumaca Regional Trial Court ordered, on July 18, 2012, the Chief of the Intelligence Security Group or the Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Security Group of the Philippine Army to comply with the May 9, 2012 Order to “commit accused Tirso Alcantara at the the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.”

“Ïn the first place, Alcantara should be released immediately, instead of being subjected to inhumane conditions in jail, as a consultant in the peace process between the NDFP and the GPH,” said Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Karapatan.

Aquino’s double-standard justice: GMA is free as political prisoners suffer in jail


Tirso "Ka Bart" Alcantara today attended at the Taguig Regional Trial Court the first hearing of three of the 43 various cases lodged against him. Alcantara has been in solitary confinement at the Fort Bonifacio Headquarters, Philippine Army Custodial Center, 191st MPBn., HHSG, PA Fort Bonifacio since he was illegally arrested on January 4, 2011, over  one and a half years ago. Alcantara is one of the 385 political prisoners who are still in jail because of fabricated criminal charges. 

Free Ka Bart 

Alcantara's legal counsels from the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) filed three separate motions: to defer Alcantara's arraignment; to immediately transfer Alcantara from military custody to a civilian detention facility; and, to consolidate the charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives to rebellion. Alcantara faces two cases of rebellion. The Judge Advocate General's Office (JAGO) was given five days to reply to the said motion as they were absent during the Court proceedings.