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.

Two years of Aquino Presidency: Increasing repression of political prisoners

Alan Jazmines stealthily  transferred to Bicutan jail 

Government authorities should immediately explain the sudden, stealthy transfer of political prisoner Alan Jazmines from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan early this morning of June 29. 

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan slammed the move “because it reeks of treachery. Alan Jazmines was not even allowed to call his legal counsel and the Custodial Center has not provided any reason for the haste in Jasmines’s transfer.” 

“The chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should likewise answer for the PNP’s action. We learned that she was with Supt. Cesar Magsino, chief of the PNP Custodial Center, when Jazmines was transported to Bicutanand that she knew of the plan days before. The CHR chairperson could have at the very least facilitated Jazmines’s request to talk to his lawyers,” added Hilao-Enriquez. 

Two years of Aquino presidency: impunity prevails

Killing of 3rd witness to Ampatuan massacre, testament of prevailing impunity under Aquino 

Karapatan today scored the reported killing of Alijol Ampatuan, the third witness in the Ampatuan massacre case to have suffered the same fate, as “it bears the seal of impunity prevalent under the Arroyo up to the current Aquino administration.”

Karapatan spokesperson and End Impunity Alliance convenor Cristina Palabay said “Alijol Ampatuan’s killing is a testament to the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines, where victims, their kin, and witnesses are silenced through summary executions and where justice for rights violations remains a distant reality under the Aquino presidency, as it approaches the 2nd year of term.”

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