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"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. 

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.

Karapatan hits PNoy's double-standard justice

The national alliance of human rights groups in the Philippines, KARAPATAN, hit  President Benigno Aquino III  for "double-standard justice" on the case of the detained Morong 43 health workers when he said during the press conference in Malacanang that he leaves it to the court to decide on the fate of the Morong 43.

What we said from the start was right when the President admitted that the evidences were wrongly gotten and the person in the warrant of arrest is not among the arrested health workers. 

No to double standard, release the Morong 43 -- Karapatan

“No double standards please,” says Karapatan, a national alliance of human rights groups, as it presses  for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including the 43 health workers known as the Morong 43.

“We express our support in granting amnesty for all rebel soldiers, but we are dismayed by the inaction of the President on the plight of almost 400 political prisoners who, like the mutineers, fought the corrupt and repressive Arroyo regime,” said Jigs Clamor, Karapatan acting secretary general.