July, 2016

GPH unilateral ceasefire, defective and deceptive

“Lest counter-insurgency programs like Oplan Bayanihan are junked, any unilateral ceasefire declaration of the Philippine government is empty and defective. To ensure that his peace initiatives are not jeopardized, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte should junk Oplan Bayanihan, a cause of unpeace in many struggling communities and grassroots organizations fighting for genuine change,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, pointed out. 


For more than four years now, peasant leader Alexander “Ka Alex” Arias, 61, has continued to suffer cruel and unwarranted detention, compounded by the snail's pace of justice in the Philippines.

SC decision on EDCA reaffirms need to assert sovereignty

The Supreme Court final decision declaring the constitutionality of the US-PH Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement reaffirms the need for the Filipino people to continue asserting Philippine sovereignty and an independent and nationalist foreign policy," Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said in reaction to the recent SC decision on EDCA.

The main provisions of EDCA on agreed locations for US personnel rotational basing and for US facilities and war materiel will strengthen US influence and control in the Philippines," Palabay said. 

Statement on the 1st State of the Nation Address of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

“On his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Karapatan calls on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to address the military’s continuing rights violations and immediately stop the

Case dismissed: Political prisoner Evelyn Flauta released

She was grinning from ear-to-ear, her presence brightening up the usually busy atmosphere of Karapatan national office. On July 18, 2016, 37-year-old farm worker Evelyn Flauta was the face of freedom and hope.

Released political prisoner Evelyn Flauta

That day, Evelyn just ended a 14-month ordeal as a political prisoner, arrested with a questionable warrant, deprived of her right to call a family member or a lawyer. 

Mistaken identity

“Wala doon [sa warrant] yung pangalan ko,” she said, laughing. Anyone who saw her from a distance wouldn’t have guessed that she was reliving her and her partner Norberto Burrico’s arrest at 6 a.m., on April 23, 2015, in Barangay Niogan, Lemery, Batangas. Perhaps the absurdity of the circumstances then—combined with the relief that came with the dismissal of their charges—was enough reason to laugh and smile, after all.

Inhospitable arrest

For ailing 59-year-old political prisoner Dionisio Almonte, a chance at freedom means getting his life back, in more ways than one.

Inhospitable arrestImagine feeling constant pain and numbness on one side of your body, extending to your arms and legs. Even walking short distances or prolonged sitting or standing is an ordeal in itself. The pain can get even worse at night. Now, imagine enduring these while detained in a cramped prison cell for crimes you didn’t commit, with limited access to medical treatment. 

Such is the ordeal of Dionisio Almonte, who suffers from a herniated (slipped) disc, a spinal condition that causes chronic pain. He has been in detention since January 9, 2014 and is one of the Philippines’ 519 political prisoners awaiting release, as promised by newly-elected president Rodrigo Duterte.

Political prisoners are citizens who are arrested and detained for their political beliefs and actions. These arrests are based on trumped-up charges, usually with arbitrarily issued warrants. Kidnapping, multiples counts of murder, arson and rebellion are just a few of the cases filed against Dionisio, a peasant organizer who is allegedly a New People’s Army (NPA) commander. 

Karapatan statement on the acquittal of GMA on plunder charges

"#BoySisi, with all his fault-finding against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, failed to convict her. BS Aquino only used Arroyo as an excuse for his inefficiency and ineptitude in governance, and pursued charges against Arroyo only for show,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said, in reaction to the Supreme Court decision acquitting Arroyo from plunder charges. 

Karapatan to Duterte: Junk US-Aquino Regime's Oplan Bayanihan

"Political killings continue as three Lumad farmers were massacred, Bagobo leaders ambushed, and an Igorot hunter shot,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general reported the first cases of political killings documented under the Duterte administration.  On July 9, 2016, Joaquin Cadacgan, a native of the Mabaka and Mangali tribes in Tanugan, Kalinga, was on his way back to his village at 3:00AM to 4:00AM after he was on watch for wild pigs that frequently destroys their crops.

Detained JASIG-protected person arrives in Manila to seek medical attention

"We are calling on the Duterte government to immediately release Renato Baleros Sr. on just and humanitarian grounds. We fear that bringing him back to prison will eventually cost his life,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said referring to political prisoner Baleros Sr. as an individual protected by JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees). Baleros arrived today in Manila from Tacloban City, with two armed personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Baleros's son Ramel and a Karapatan Eastern Visayas staff to seek medical attention.

political prisonerBaleros was rushed to the hospital night of July 2. Doctors diagnosed Baleros of having acute renal failure, severe sepsis and acute inflammation of kidney tissues, calysys and renal pelvis and community acquired pneumonia which he got from Samar Provincial Jail. He needs to undergo further medical investigation, facilities for such are only accessible in Manila and Cebu.

Baleros is detained for trumped up charges of murder and frustrated murder, robbery in band and multiple homicide, and arson filed against him. Almost all of his cases have already been dismissed, except for one murder charge. 

Baleros and his wife Lonie Colinaio-Baleros were heading the New People’s Army’s relief operations in Western Samar during the devastation of the typhoon Yolanda when they were arrested on December 2013.

Women taken, but unshaken

By Amie Perez
For political prisoners Rhea Pareja and Miguela Ocampo Peniero, a new chapter in their struggle for freedom and justice begins, as a new president takes office.
“Don’t move, don’t run, or else you’ll die.”

People's Agenda on Peace and Human Rights

We have witnessed a wanton disregard of people’s rights and the prevalent climate of impunity and unpeace, especially under the Benigno S. Aquino III presidency. 

2015 Karapatan Year-end Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines

On June 30, 2016, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the 15th president of the Government of the Philippines, steps down from Malacañang. Plagued as it is with cases of bureaucratic corruption, criminal negligence, inept leadership, sell-out of the nation’s sovereignty, the BS Aquino presidency also leaves behind an atrocious record of human rights violations, which he continues to ignore to this day.

2015 Karapatan Human Rights Report 

Freedom for the Iskolar ng Bayan

They had simple but big dreams. 

Warrant of arrest issued against 15 activists and church workers for assisting Lumad evacuees

Dear Friends,

On the Spate of Drug-related Killings

With the spate of alleged drug-related killings, Karapatan reiterates its stand against the practice of extrajudicial killing against any individual. The Duterte administration, while going after the generals and big fish of the narcotic trade, should also make the lives of the poor less vulnerable to easy money which the drug trade offers. It is also important that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with its bloody human rights record, should not be involved in Pres.

(Fr)Eedom is coming

As a new administration enters Malacañang with the promise of change, Maricon “Eedom” Montajes and over 500 political prisoners hope for a chance to be free.
photo from pinoyweekly 

Karapatan calls for immediate release of detained JASIG-protected persons

Human rights organization Karapatan called for immediate release of Renato Baleros, 58, and recently arrested Eduardo Genelsa, 60, for just and humanitarian grounds. 

Duterte urged to investigate political killings during BS Aquino regime

"We urge Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to look into the numerous cases of political killings and other atrocities perpetrated by the BS Aquino regime through its counter-insurgency program and bring the perpetrators to justice. Fernando Baldomero’s killing and six years of no justice mirrors the prevalent climate of impunity that must end,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general today said on the sixth year after Baldomero’s assassination.