Martial Law-style military operations drive away rural folks from their homes

From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: hamletting and forced evacuation remain

Karapatan today held a picket at the Times St. residence of Noynoy Aquino to call the attention of the government on the “military operations especially in the rural areas and on the plight of the evacuees such as those from the Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon Province who left their homes because of these operations.” 

Karapatan secretary general, Cristina Palabay said, “there are now eight military battalions in Bondoc Peninsula, something that has never happened before, even during the time of martial law.” Karapatan has documented several cases of threats and harassment against residents in the area, including those who are members of farmers’ organizations.

The protest action coincided with the birthday of the late Ferdinand Marcos, whose reign was marked by tyranny and terror that resulted to countless human rights violations. “With evacuations going on in many parts of the country such as in the Caraga region, in Bukidnon, and in Bondoc Peninsula, we believe that the Marcos era never left us after martial law. The essential elements of Marcos’ hamletting and forced evacuation happened during Cory Aquino’s time and the succeeding presidents after her; and it is still happening now,” Palabay added.

Lawyer of Palparan’s co-accused Osorio resorts to worn out tactics

“The lawyer of Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, failing to discredit at yesterday’s hearing the testimony of witness Wilfredo Ramos, tried to turn the table around by saying that the witness is testifying only because he is a member of Karapatan. He sounded so much like Palparan, who resorts to blaming the victims of human rights violations to justify the atrocities he committed against them,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Atty. Jose Cruz called the witness “biased” after Ramos recounted what he saw when the two UP students, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, along with farmer Manuel Merino, were abducted on June 26, 2006 in Bgy. San Miguel , Hagonoy, Bulacan.  Ramos and his father were hogtied and threatened in the incident. Ramos, who was only 14 years old at that time of the abduction, identified Osorio as one of those who abducted the students and Merino, when the latter accompanied Gen. Palparan during the preliminary investigation at the Department of Justice.
“The issue is not whether Ramos is a member of Karapatan or not. The fact is, Ramos was able to stand by and was consistent with his earlier testimonies, as well as, what was written in his affidavit while he was being cross-examined by Atty. Cruz. He was firm and calm, despite the harrowing experience he and his family encountered. His testimony bolsters the charges against Osorio, Palparan and the others,” Palabay said.

Palparan still at-large as court hearings proceed

From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: “Berdugos” on the loose

Fugitive general Jovito Palparan was still a no-show in today’s hearing at the Malolos Trial Court for the kidnapping and illegal detention case filed against him in relation to the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan. 

“We knew all along that raising the bounty for Palparan’s head is not enough and, in fact, not the solution in arresting the Butcher. The most necessary requisite is the firm resolve of Pres. Aquino to arrest Palparan, regardless of what the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ views on the matter. But as things are, kulang na lang ipagtanggol niya si Palparan gaya nang pagtatanggol niya kay DILG Undersecretary Puno,” said  Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.  
Palparan has been at-large since December 2011 when the warrant of arrest was issued by the Malolos Trial Court. Meanwhile, court hearings started in January without Palparan. 

Palabay said that, “Palparan reminds us of the martial law years, where torturers roamed freely, were tolerated and were even permanent fixtures in the martial law landscape. Palparan calls to mind the likes of Rolando Abadilla and Rodolfo Aguinaldo, the much-hated torturers of activists and oppositionists during martial law. They, together with Palparan, are among the “poster boys” of terror and impunity that span from the martial law years to this day.” 

Karapatan renews call to disband paramilitary groups amid terror in Bukidnon

From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: paramilitary groups as AFP surrogates

Rights group Karapatan today reiterated its call on Pres. Noynoy Aquino to disband paramilitary groups, as “these are not only Martial Law relics that persist to this day, but are mercenary appendages of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that continue to sow terror and violence among the people.”

Cristina Palabay said that the New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (NIPAR), a known paramilitary group under the control of the 8th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, struck anew in Brgy. Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon, as they set up camp, threatened and harassed indigenous peoples in the area, resulting to the forced evacuation of 12 families to Malaybalay, in front of the Provincial Capitol. According to the residents, NIPAR and its leaders Alde and Benjamin Salusad used brute force and harassment to force them to allow large-scale mining in their 52,000-hectare ancestral domain.

Military defies court order to transfer Alcantara to civilian detention facility

From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: political prisoners exist

Free Ka Bart, Free Ka Allan 

The Taguig Regional Trial Court today heard the motion of the counsels of Tirso Alcantara and Alan Jazmines to consolidate the charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives to rebellion. The counsels again presented arguments  for Alcantara's  immediate transfer from military custody to a civilian detention facility citing, among others, the recent decision of the Gumaca RTC ordering the military to transfer Alcantara to the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame. 

The military failed to present Alcantara during the hearing and the Judge Advocate General Office (JAGO), for the second time, did not attend the court proceedings. 





Jazmines prevented from being interviewed

Jazmines pulled away from interview 

“Even without today’s hearing at the Taguig RTC, Alcantara should now be transferred to a civilian detention facility, specifically at the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame, because the Gumaca Regional Trial Court already ordered the military,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson. 

Movement for justice for Geertman launched

From martial law to Noynoy Aquino, killings of missionaries among poor go on

A movement that seeks justice for Wilhelm Geertman will have its launch today, almost two months after Geertman was killed on July 3, 2012. Geertman, a Dutch lay missionary, worked in Central Luzon as organizer, educator, advocate of genuine land reform for the peasant indigenous people’s rights and environmental protection.  

Geertman was killed by two gunmen and another driver riding on a motorcycle. “Despite police claims that the killing was a simple case of robbery, Karapatan believes that the killers were state agents and that Geertman’s case is that of an extrajudicial execution. The pattern that preceded the killing and the manner by which he was killed resembles that of the many cases of extrajudicial killings under Oplan Bantay Laya and now, under Oplan Bayanihan,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan. 

Hilao-Enriquez said that “prior to the killing, Geertman and people around him experienced surveillance; there were also threats and branding of Geertman as supporter of the New People’s Army and a member of the National Democratic Front. It’s not at all new. It has been the practice by the government and the military especially under martial law.” 

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?”

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