Press release

Desaparecidos kin join Burgos family in seeking legal remedy to surface Jonas

Families of victims of enforced disappearance from the human rights organization Desaparecidos came to the Court of Appeals (CA) today to show support for the Burgos family at the first hearing of the petition for habeas corpus for missing activist Jonas Burgos.

Among those who trooped to the CA were the relatives of desaparecidos Leopoldo Ancheta, Cesar Batralo, Romulos Robinos, Gloria Soco and Sherlyn Cadapan.

AFP should release Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel Merino

The Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos) today called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to release the two abducted University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño and peasant Manuel Merino, whom they have detained and kept hidden one year to this day.

Trillanes probe asked to open safehouses, secret detention places

The Philippine human rights alliance KARAPATAN welcomed the planned probe on extrajudicial killings of former soldier and now senator-elect Antonio Trillanes.

KARAPATAN Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez said, “We laud Senator Trillanes for this move to put the Arroyo administration to task for the unabated extrajudicial killings.”

KARAPATAN likewise welcomes the pronouncements made by top anti-Arroyo military officials who said that they will provide the detained senator-elect with evidence once he begins work in the Senate next month.

Dutch envoy insults victims by calling PPT a kangaroo court

"It's such a shame that the Dutch ambassador dismissed an international juridical body as a kangaroo court.  He had just faulted victims for filing their complaints at the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT)."

This was the statement of the Philippine human rights group Karapatan after Dutch Ambassador Robert Vornis said that the Permanent People's Tribunal is a kangaroo court.

Political Prisoners to fast for Ka Satur's release

More than 100 political prisoners all over the country will fast from sunrise tomorrow to sundown on March 22, as they join the call for the release of Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo, and Anakpawis partylist Rep. Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran.

AFP the real perpetrator of mass graves

The group of families of desaparecidos today called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surface the victims of enforced disappearances, instead of fabricating stories of “mass graves” to harass genuine human rights defenders.

“From the Marcos Dictatorship, through the past regimes, it is the AFP which had gone unpunished for keeping secret detention cells and torture chambers where they had brought thousands of victims of abductions and illegal arrests. Instead of digging up actual cemeteries and disturbing the peace of the dead, the AFP should surface our loved ones whom them have disappeared,” said Ghay Portajada, spokesperson of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos).

Filipino human right advocates testifying at U.S. Senate hearing on killings in RP

Three Filipino human rights advocates are scheduled to testify at a hearing at the US Senate, which was called by Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California), to find ways to end the violence that has claimed the lives of 836 people since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed the Presidency in 2001.

The Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired by Sen. Boxer, has scheduled a hearing on the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines on Wednesday, March 14 at 2:30 PM (US time).

Rights group score troops in Cagayan Valley for hampering work of human rights mission

Human rights groups composed of 49 members and volunteers of Karapatan, Taripnong, KAMP and the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, with an Australian volunteer, complained of harassment by government troops in Cagayan Valley.  The national fact-finding and relief mission was in response to the request to investigate military abuses in the province and to extend assistance to the victims’ families.

The human rights umbrella KARAPATAN scored the military and police for stalling the fact-finding mission. 

End policy on civilian killings before victims can be in courts without fear - Karapatan

End the state policy on civilian killings before victims can be in courts without fear. Thus said the human rights group Karapatan in the wake of a Supreme Court order to designate special courts that will try cases of extrajudicial killings.

The rights campaigners expressed that the special courts scheme is just a way of the Commander-in-Chief to lessen her command responsibility. This merely provides a damage control formula for the Arroyo regime but does not intend to stop the killings.

Victims, rights groups presented cases to UNSR Mr. Alston

Families of HRV victims with UNSR Philip Alston Witnesses and relatives of about 20 victims whose cases were documented by KARAPATAN presented their cases to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Mr. Philip Alston at an undisclosed place this morning.

Among the cases presented were those of Armando Javier, Jr. and Romeo Malabanan, victims of extrajudicial killings. Armando and his wife were shot inside their home on 2 October 2005. Armando was Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Party List Municipal Coordinator in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija and was being harassed by soldiers prior to his murder. Romeo Malabanan, a Bayan Muna Coordinator of Bay, Laguna was shot in front of their home on 23 December 2003.

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