Pinoy Weekly » Balita http://pinoyweekly.org/new Philippine news, analysis, and investigative stories Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:50:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 Rights groups slam trumped-up charges vs activists, peace consultants http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/04/rights-groups-slam-trumped-up-charges-vs-activists-peace-consultants/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/04/rights-groups-slam-trumped-up-charges-vs-activists-peace-consultants/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 16:22:45 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28783 Groups call for the resumption of GPH-NDF peace talks. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

Human rights groups call for the resumption of GPH-NDF peace talks. Macky Macaspac

Human rights groups picketed the Manila Regional Trial Court to call for the junking of murder charges against former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and some peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), including Randall Echanis, Rafael Baylosis, Vicente Ladlad, and the recently arrested Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria.

The clarificatory hearing was conducted after the Supreme Court on February dismissed the consolidated petitions filed by Ocampo and others contesting the charges against them.

Ocampo, in an interview, said the case is merely a revival of trumped-up charges against them during Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo’s presidency.

He said that during Arroyo’s term, the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (Ialag) headed by then National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and then Department of Justice Sec. Raul Gonzales filed multiple murder charges against them. Ocampo was arrested on 2007, and posted bail upon the order of the Supreme Court.

Ialag was deemed by United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston as a means by which the government prosecutes and punishes “enemies of the state.” “The government was forced to abolish Ialag, but to our surprise our case remained,” Ocampo said.

Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center asked the lower court to refrain from hearing the case. “We still have pending motion for reconsideration in the Supreme Court,” she said.

Human rights group Karapatan has documented 570 cases of illegal arrests and detention from June 2010 to December 2013. The group also documented 427 political prisoners, as of December 2013, including 152 persons arrested under Aquino’s term.

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said that almost all of the cases, like those of detained NDFP consultants, are criminal charges spuriously filed based on highly questionable evidence and fabricated testimonies.

“Leaders of people’s organizations in Negros, for instance, are constantly threatened with fabricated criminal charges of the (military and police). Under the Aquino government, the assault on political dissenters through the filing of trumped-up charges is on the rise. In an attempt to silence opposition, they make up all sort of charges using the wildest of their imagination,” Palabay said.

The groups called on the government to free all political prisoners, and demanded that the practice of filing trumped-up cases against leaders and members of progressive organizations be stopped.

“Trumped-up charges are obviously meant to stifle the freedom of movement of political dissenters. This is the bigger crime. The Aquino government should stop silencing its critics, or his regime is bound to face bigger protests for violating human rights here and there,” Palabay said.

In a related development, Karapatan also slammed the plan of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Armed Forces to transfer Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late Roger Rosal of the Communist Party of the Phillippines, from the NBI custody to Camp Aguinaldo.

“It is inhumane to transfer the nine-month pregnant Andrea to Camp Aguinaldo, considering her condition and other gross violation of her rights, as if her arrest is not illegal enough,” Palabay said.

Karapatan fears that Rosal might suffer the fate of the two pregnant women of Morong 43 who suffered torture when they were arrested and detained in a military camp in 2010.

“We demand for her immediate release including her companions, so that her immediate admission to a hospital where her urgent needs will be addressed,” Palabay said.

 

 

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‘Gang of Five’ ng gobyernong Aquino, pinapapanagot sa mga biktima ng Yolanda http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/04/gang-of-five-ng-gobyernong-aquino-pinapapanagot-sa-kriminal-na-kapabayaan-sa-mga-biktima-ng-yolanda/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/04/gang-of-five-ng-gobyernong-aquino-pinapapanagot-sa-kriminal-na-kapabayaan-sa-mga-biktima-ng-yolanda/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:35:01 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28788 "Thumbs down" sa imahe ng "Gang of Five" ang ipinakita ng mga miyembro ng People Surge, Tindog, Kadamay at si Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, sa press conference sa Quezon City. <strong>Boy Bagwis</strong>

“Thumbs down” sa imahe ng “Gang of Five” ang ipinakita ng mga miyembro ng People Surge, Tindog, Kadamay at si Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, sa press conference sa Quezon City. Boy Bagwis

“Salamat sa administrasyong Aquino sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga nasalanta ng bagyong Yolanda.”

Ito ang pakutyang #AprilFools Day na mensahe ng mga biktima ng Yolanda sa ilalim ng People Surge. Kasabay nito, anunsiyo ng grupo ang buong-linggong protesta para panagutin ang administrasyon sa “kriminal na kapabayaan” umano nito sa kanilang mga biktima, maglilimang buwan matapos salantahin ng bagyo ang Eastern Visayas.

“Salamat sa administrasyong Aquino, mas mahirap, mas gutom kami, pero mas mabuting mga tao sa pag-asa sa sarili naming lakas. Kung naghintay pa kami sa mga pangako ng gobyerno, nasa Eastern Visayas pa sana kami sa halip na dinadala sa Maynila ang isyu ng pagpapabaya sa amin,” sabi ni Sr. Edita Eslopor, tagapangulo ng People Surge.

Binansagan ng People Surge ang limang opisyal ng administrasyong Aquino na sina Pangulong Aquino, Interior and Local Government Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas III, Social Welfare and Development Sec. Dinky Soliman, Rehabilitation Czar Panfilo Lacson, at Energy Sec. Jerico Petilla bilang “Gang of Five” na pangunahing responsable sa pagpapabaya sa mga bikitma ng Yolanda.

Pabayang lima

Joel Abano ng People Surge. <strong>Boy Bagwis</strong>

Joel Abano ng People Surge. Boy Bagwis

Binigyan-diin ni Eslopor na inamin mismo ni Aquino ang kapabayaan ng kanyang administrasyon sa pagsagip sa mga nasalanta matapos ang bagyo. “Pero walang kahulugan ito (ang paghingi ng paumanhin ni Aquino), hangga’t hindi niya tinutugunan ang kahilingan ng mga mamamayan,” sabi pa niya. Pinagpapanagot din nila si Roxas sa kabiguan niya sa rescue sa mga biktima noong panahon ng bagyo.

Pinatotoo ni Joel Abano, isa sa mga lider ng People Surge, ang pagpapabaya ng mga ahensiya ng gobyerno noong panahon ng bagyong Yolanda. Noong umaga ng Nob. 8, 2013, biglaan daw ang pagtaas ng tubig sa kanilang lugar sa Tacloban. Napaakyat siya sa kawad ng kuryente, kung saan sinagip siya ng mga kabataan.

“Masakit sa kalooban na marami sa mga kapitbahay, kabarangay mo ang patay,” kuwento niya. Ilang araw matapos ang bagyo, grabe ang paghihirap nila dahil walang makain at di sila pinaaabutan ng relief goods kahit taga-Tacloban lang mismo sila.

Binatikos din ng grupo ang DSWD at si Soliman sa di-pag-abot ng relief goods sa mayorya ng mga biktima, ilang buwan matapos ang bagyo. Sa kabila nito, talamak ang mga balita ng pagkabulok ng “trak-trak” na relief goods na nasa pag-iingat ng naturang departamento.

“Nangako si Petilla na magbibitiw siya kung di mababalik ang kuryente sa mayorya ng mga bahay sa Tacloban noong Pasko. Hanggang ngayon, wala pa ring kuryente ang mayorya roon. Hindi pa rin nagbibitiw si Petilla,” ani Eslopor. Binabatikos si Petilla ng mga residente ng Tacloban at iba pang lugar sa Leyte at Samar sa kabiguan ng Dep’t. of Energy na agarang mabalik ang kuryente sa rehiyon.

Isinama rin ng People Surge si Lacson sa “Gang of Five” dahil sa halip umano na pagtuunan ng rehabilitation efforts ng gobyerno ang pag-ayuda sa agrikultura ng Eastern Visayas na pinaka-apektado sa bagyo, imprastraktura at paggawad ng mga kontrata sa malalaking negosyante pa ang inaatupag ng opisina ni Lacson.

Sabi ni Marissa Cabaljao, tagapagsalita ng People Surge, tinatayang umabot sa P65-Bilyon ang pinsala sa agrikultura. “Otsenta porsiyento ng mga mamamayan sa Eastern Visayas ang nakaasa sa agrikultura,” paliwanag ni Cabaljao. Ang malala pa nito, aniya, nasasangkot sa kung anu-anong anomalya ang mga proyektong pang-imprastraktura, kabilang ang pinagawang bunkhouses na di umano matirhan ng karaniwang pamilyang Pilipino.

Bishop Deogracia Iniguez: Kailangang malaman ng madla ang nagaganap ngayon sa Eastern Visayas. <strong>Boy Bagwis</strong>

Bishop Deogracia Iniguez: Kailangang malaman ng madla ang nagaganap ngayon sa Eastern Visayas. Boy Bagwis

Sinabi rin ni Cabaljao na matapos ang dalawang buwan ng mga lider ng People Surge sa Maynila, nananatiling bingi ang administrasyon sa kanilang mga hiling. Ang masama pa raw dito, tila tinatakot pa ng mga ahente ng gobyerno ang mga miyembro nila sa Eastern Bisayas.

“Sa Albura, Leyte, pinatatanong ng militar kung sinu-sino ang pumirma (sa petisyon ng People Surge,” kuwento ni Cabaljao.

Suporta ng madla

Nagpahayag naman ng suporta si Bishop Deogracias Iniguez sa laban ng People Surge para sa katarungan. “Sana patuloy na mabuksan ang mga mata natin sa kung ano talaga ang nangyayari — marami (sa mga kuwentong pinapaabot ng People Surge ay) di-nakakarating sa kaalaman ng madla,” sabi pa niya.

Sinabi naman ni Carlito Badion, pangkalahatang-kalihim ng Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap o Kadamay, na makikiisa ang mga maralitang lungsod sa malaking martsa ng mga biktima ng Yolanda sa Abril 8.Kalahok din sa naturang protesta ang mga kaanak ng mga biktima ng Yolanda sa ilalim ng Tindog Network, sabi ni Maritess Bacolod ng Tindog.

Sa Abril 8, ani Badion, may misang magaganap sa Quiapo Church na pangunguna ni Bishop Iniguez na iaalay sa mga biktima ng Yolanda ng alas-10:30 ng umaga. Matapos nito, tutungo ng Mendiola ang iba’t ibang grupo ng alas-3 ng hapon para doon magprotesta.

Sugod sa DSWD

Galit at dismayado ang mga biktima ng bagyong Yolanda sa ilalim ng People Surge sa DSWD kung kaya muli nilang sinugod ang tanggapan nito para kondenahin ang ahensiya sa mga nabubulok na relief goods sa kabila ng matinding kagutuman sa Eastern Visayas ngayon.

Bitbit din nila ang pitong pangalan ng mga namatay kamakailan sa Leyte dahil umano sa epekto ng kapabayaan ng administrasyong Aquino sa pagtulong dapat sa mga biktima ng bagyo.

Kabilang sa mga namatay sina Herminia Milar, Elizabeth Adoni, at Dameia Lota, na mula sa Brgy. Danao. Kasama rin sa naiulat ng People Surge na namatay kamakailan ay sina Francisco Salico, Anito Tisgado, Felisa Pantin, at isang tatlong buwan na sanggol mula Brgy. Liwayway.

Imbes na tulong umano ang ibigay, nabubulok na relief goods daw ang natanggap ng mga biktima mula sa nasabing ahensya.

“Tao kami. Hindi kami mga hayop na pakakainin ninyo (DSWD) ng bulok na pagkain. Bakit kami tinatrato ng ganito?” ayon kay Jessica Darantinao, biktima ng bagyong Yolanda na kabilang ngayon sa People Surge, sa panayam ng Pinoy Weekly.

Sa panayam sa Pinoy Weekly, sinabi pa ni Eslopor na namatay kamakailan ang mga biktima dahil umano sa epekto ng kapabayaan ng gobyerno sa mga biktima. Namatay naman ang iba dahil sa sakit at walang matinong silungan para sa kanila. Ang iba ay humina ang resistensiya at nagkasakit dahil sa walang makain.

“Kung inayos lamang sana ng ahensiyang ito ang kanyang trabaho, hindi sana ito nangyari. Ayaw na namin itong madagdagan pa at maranasan ng iba,” ayon kay Marissa Cabaljao, biktima ng bagyong Yolanda mula Western Samar na nasa People Surge ngayon, sa panayam ng Pinoy Weekly.

Ayon naman kay Darantinao, walang natupad sa anumang ipinangako umano ni Sec. Soliman sa mga biktima mula noong kanilang dialogo.

Kasama si Darantinao sa nakipagdiyalogo sa DSWD noong Marso 12 para pag-usapan ang mga hinaing ng mga biktima. Nag-walk-out ang People Surge sa nasabing pagpupulong dahil sa pagkadismaya.

“Yung ipinangako niya (Soliman) na magpapatuloy ang pamimigay ng relief goods…ng bigas at cash for work na sinasabi, hanggang ngayon po ay wala pa. Lalo na yung ibang malalayo (na lugar sa Bisayas) na hanggang ngayon di pa rin naaabotan ng tulong,” aniya.

Nabubulok lang

Habang marami pa rin ang nagugutom sa mga lugar na napinsala ng bagyong Yolanda, lumabas naman ang balitang ibinaon na lamang ang mga nabulok na relief goods dahil sa hindi agarang naipamigay sa mga biktima.

Inamin naman ng DSWD ang paratang na ito, pero nasa isang sako lamang daw ng biskwit, 10 instant noodles, kalahating sako ng bigas, at isang sako ng mga damit ang ibinaon sa dump-site ng Palo at hindi trak trak tulad ng naunang napabalita.

“Talagang kakonde-kondena ang pagkabulok ng mga relief goods. Kung talagang nagkaroon lamang ang DSWD ng sistematikong pagtulong at maiparating hanggang sa mga liblib na lugar hindi sana nabulok ang mga relief goods,” ayon kay Eslopor.

Matagal na raw nilang ipinaaabot na hindi nakakarating sa mga malalayo at liblib na lugar ang tulong ng gobyerno. Pero tila hindi umano nagkaroon ng maayos na pakikipag-ugnayan ang DSWD sa mga lokal na pamahalaan dahilan para mabulok umano ang mga relief goods sa mga bodega, dagdag ni Eslopor.

Nagsisinungaling daw umano si Soliman na konti lamang ang nabulok na relief goods. May nakausap umano silang drayber ng isang trak na nagtapon ng nabubulok na relief goods sa dagat. Pero ayaw umano nitong magpakilala dahil sa takot kung magsasalita ito at balikan.

“Kailangan pa rin ang mga relief goods dahil hindi pa rin nagbabago ang kalagayan ng mga biktima mula ng bumagyo dahil sa wala naman daw pangmatagalang tulong na ibinibigay o plano ang gobyerno sa mga nasalanta,” ayon naman kay Marissa.

Maging sa kanilang lugar sa Samar nagugutom pa rin ang mga tao dahil sa wala pa ring kabuhayan, dagdag ni Marissa.

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Pulong para sa pagsasapribado ng Orthopedic Center, ipinrotesta http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/pagpupulong-para-sa-pribatisasyon-poc-sinalubong-ng-protesta/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/pagpupulong-para-sa-pribatisasyon-poc-sinalubong-ng-protesta/#comments Sat, 29 Mar 2014 16:09:26 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28705 "Isa

Isa sa mga ward sa Philippine Orthopedic Center sa Quezon City. KR Guda/PW File Photo

Sinalubong ng protesta ang pulong ng pamunuan ng Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) at Megawide World Citi Consortium para umano pag-usapan ang nakaambang pagsasapribado nito.

Pinangunahan ng National Orthopedic Hospital Workers’ Union-Alliance of Health Workers (NOHWU-AHW) ang nasabing pagkilos sa loob ng bakuran ng POC kasama ang mga pasyente at mga mamamayan na sumusuporta laban sa pribatisasyon ng POC.

Isinailalim ang POC sa build-operate-transfer o BOT na isang porma ng pribatisasyon. Binigyan-daan ito ng Public-Private Partnership na programa ng administrasyong Aquino. Ang Megawide ang pribadong kompanya na siyang mangangasiwa sa bagong gusali na itatayo sa bakuran ng National Kidney and Transplant Institute sa Quezon City.

“Pagpapakita ito na hindi welcome dito ang mga nais pagkakitaan ang serbisyong pangkalusugan. Hindi welcome dito ang Megawide ni Henry Sy para gawing negosyo ang ospital na takbuhan ng mga mahihirap nating kababayan,” ayon kay Sean Velchez, tagapangulo ng NOHWU-AHW.

Ayon kay Velchez, malinaw na pagnenegosyo ang gagawing modernisasyon diumano ng POC dahil pribado manggagaling ang pondo nito. Tiyak na babawiin nito ang anumang pondong inilagak; pagkakakitaan ang mahihirap na mga mamamayan na tanging sa publikong ospital lamang umaasa.

Dagdag pa ni Velchez, hindi lamang ang mga kawani sa kalusugan at mga pasyente ang maapektuhan nito kundi maging ang maliliit na negosyo at kabuhayan na nakapaligid sa POC. Sinang-ayunan naman ito ng mga naghahanapbuhay sa paligid ng ospital.

Apektado rin sila

“Mahirap para sa amin dahil dito kami nabubuhay. Kung matutuloy na ilipat ang Orthopedic baka humanap na lang ako ng ibang trabaho,” ayon kay Jun Jun Quisoy, 29, traysikel drayber sa POC na nakapanayam ng Pinoy Weekly.

Ayon kay Quisoy, kumikita siya ng P300 kada araw sa loob ng 5 taon niyang pagmamaneho. Pero karamihan sa mga pasahero niya ay mahihirap. Walang pamasahe daw ang kadalasan sa mga ito o kulang ang pambayad.

Para naman kay Joel Quilang, 21, nagtitinda ng kakanin sa paligid ng POC, magiging mahirap para sa kanya dahil kakailanganin niyang lumipat ng pwesto kung saan maraming tao para kumita.

Nilapitan na nang mga kawaning pangkalusugan ang Korte Suprema noong Pebrero para maglabas ito ng temporary restraining order (TRO) laban sa pagsasapribado ng POC, pero hindi pa ito naglalabas sa kasalukuyan.

Nakatakda namang muling magtungo ang mga kawani sa kalusugan sa Korte Suprema sa Biyernes para hilingin na maglabas na ang nasabing korte ng TRO laban sa nakaambang pagsasapribado ng POC.

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Arrests, extra-judicial killing of activists intensify http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/arrests-extra-judicial-killing-of-activists-intensify/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/arrests-extra-judicial-killing-of-activists-intensify/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 10:22:17 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28713 Karapatan condemned the recent spat of killings and the arrests of revolutionaries and supposed sympathizers. <strong>PW File Photo / Macky Macaspac</strong>

Karapatan condemned the spate of killings and the arrests of revolutionaries and supposed sympathizers. PW File Photo / Macky Macaspac

Human rights group Karapatan condemned the recent arrest of a pregnant daughter of the late Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spokesman Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal–the latest in a series of arrests and killings of supposed revolutionary leaders and sympathizers across the country.

Andrea Rosal, nine months pregnant, was arrested by elements of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) yesterday morning in BF Homes, Brgy. 169, Caloocan City. She was arrested together with Ruben Gatchalian, a barangay captain and member of Anakpawis Party-list, as well as a certain Rafael de Guzman.

Authorities claimed Rosal is a member of the CPP in Southern Tagalog and was arrested by virtue of a warrant for kidnapping and murder. She denied the authorities’ allegations in media reports.

“Karapatan paralegals were not allowed to have access to those arrested when they arrived at the NBI at around 4:30 PM yesterday,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general, who condemned the arrest and the denial of the right of the arrested persons to have access in legal representation.

“We demand for the immediate release of Andrea Rosal and that she be given proper medical care and attention considering her condition. We demand that the NBI and all security forces involved in this highly questionable operation respect the rights of Rosal, Gatchalian and Rosal’s companion to access to counsel, their relatives and human rights organizations,” Palabay said.

On Saturday, March 22, Wilma Austria and Benito Tiamzon, both senior leaders of the CPP, were arrested in Cebu. Lawyers and human rights groups said the arrest was illegal. Austria and Tiamzon have immunity from arrest as peace consultants, in the Joint Agreement on Immunity and Safety Guarantees (Jasig) but government officials and the military claimed otherwise.

Karapatan also raised the alarm over the spate of killings and demanded that President Aquino step down from office for the alleged escalation of human rights violations. The group said the president is accountable for the 169 victims of extra-judicial killings, from July 2010 to December 2013. And in span of 13 weeks for this year alone, 19 more victims were added.

William Bugatti <strong>Contributed photo</strong>

William Bugatti Contributed Photo

Latest additional victim of extra-judicial killings is a human rights worker in Ifugao. William Bugatti a member of Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) was gunned down on March 25, along the Ifugao Highway in Bolog, Kiangan, Ifugao.

According to Karapatan, Bugatti was also listed in a military’s order of battle together with other members of peoples organizations in Tinoc Ifugao.

The CHRA also said that posters bearing faces of members and leaders of progressive organization appeared in Ifugao and other provinces of the Cordillera regions.

Bugatti was killed more than a week after Romeo Capalla, the younger brother of Archbishop Antonio Capalla was killed in Iloilo, and two weeks after the massacre of Ligiw family in Abra.

Also in Bicol, Vince Casilihan, Karapatan-Bicol secretary general, said four small-scale farmers were killed on March 22, 2014. The victims Julio Labiano, Rene Labiano, Salem Virtus, and Jessie Brondia, were allegdely killed by Bantay Kalikasan Task Force of Camarines Sur.

“The cold-blooded murder is another chilling case of political killing in Bicol. The poor victims eke out a living by engaging in small-scale mining in their barangay. The perpetrators are members of the Civilian Security Unit (CSU) of the provincial government of Camarines Sur assigned to Task force Bantay Kalikasan. It is hard to dismiss that the killing is an isolated case and has nothing to do with the powers-that-be in Camarines Sur. Small scale mining is hot in the eyes of politicians in the province and of the military,” Casilihan stated.

Aside from this, child rights advocates in Southern Mindanao slammed the military for the alleged abduction and branding of a certain child named by the Military as “Balong”, 14, as a New People’s Army “child soldier” on March 24, 2014 in Magpet, North Cotabato. The military claimed Balong has been active for two years in the communist movement, and allegedly surrendered as an NPA guerrilla.

The alleged military Order of Battle against members of progressive groups. <strong>Contributed Photo</strong>

The alleged military Order of Battle against members of progressive groups. Contributed Photo

According to Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), Balong’s elder brother showed up saying that he just got the Form 137 of “Balong” from Brgy. Guinoyuran Elementary School in Bukidnon in compliance with the child’s requirements for graduation. The child who transferred to Bangkal Elementary School last S.Y. 2012-2013 in Magpet and expected to garduate last March 27, 2014 as Grade 6 pupil.

The group said that the child’s adviser had his complete class records.

“This is not just a branding case but a case of abduction,as for a very long time, the military failed to turn him over to his family or assigned authorities, and even his whereabouts was only known to the family after March 24, 2014”said Rius Valle, advocacy officer of CRC Southern Mindanao Region.

Karapatan said that the latest arrests and the other human rights abuses sabotage the peace negotation between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“Aquino’s duplicity on the issue of peace is further emphasized today. On one hand, he boasts of forging peace with the MILF, while military offensives continue in Mindanao victimizing thousands of civilians. On the other hand, he lies on his administration’s interest on peacetalks with the NDFP, while his government illegally arrests peace consultants, rights defenders and individuals and kills those who are vocal critics of his anti-people governance,” Palabay said.

 

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Miyembro ng NDF, sumugod sa Camp Crame para sa pagpapalaya ng mga Tiamzon http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/miyembro-ng-ndf-sumugod-sa-camp-crame-para-sa-pagpapalaya-ng-mga-tiamzon/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/miyembro-ng-ndf-sumugod-sa-camp-crame-para-sa-pagpapalaya-ng-mga-tiamzon/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 06:52:55 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28719

Nagsagawa ng lightning rally ang mga miyembro ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)- Cavite sa harap mismo ng himpilan ng Philippine National Police sa Camp Crame, Quezon City kaninang umaga. Nanawagan ang mga miyembro ng NDFP na palayain sina Benito Tiamzon at Wilma Austria, mga lider-rebolusyonaryo na umano’y ilegal na inaresto noong Marso 22 at kasalukuyang nakadetine sa Camp Crame.

Isinagawa ang lightning rally isang araw bago ang ika-45 na anibersaryo ng New People’s Army. Ayon sa mga miyembro ng NDFP- Cavite, sa kabila ng pagkakaaresto sa dalawang lider ng Communist Party of the Philippines, magpapatuloy ang “digmang bayan” na umano’y tanging solusyon sa malawak na kahirapan.

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Revolutionary groups press for Tiamzons’ release, refute gov’t claims http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/revolutionary-groups-press-for-tiamzons-release-refute-govt-claims/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/revolutionary-groups-press-for-tiamzons-release-refute-govt-claims/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:29:39 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28681 Makibaka members march along Rizal Avenue, Manila to demand the release of NDFP consultants Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

Makibaka members march along Rizal Avenue, Manila to demand the release of NDFP consultants Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon. Macky Macaspac

The CPP explained that the Tiamzons have been involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts by revolutionary groups in Eastern Visayas. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

The CPP explained that the Tiamzons were involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts by revolutionary groups in Eastern Visayas. Macky Macaspac

Members of a revolutionary women’s group marched in downtown Manila to press for the release of Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon, alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and peace consultants for the underground umbrella group National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Their faces covered in masks, members of Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Makibaka), an allied organization of NDFP, carried CPP and New People’s Army (NPA) flags and placards condemning the arrest of Austria and Tiamzon, who along with five others, were captured by combined military and police elements in Carcar City, Cebu on Saturday, March 22.

The lightning rally was also conducted a few days before NPA’s 45th anniversary on March 29.

Malaya Libertad, Makibaka spokesperson, described Austria as an epitome of a revolutionary woman. “She should be exalted and not be incarcerated like an ordinary criminal,” Libertad said. “She should be released immediately especially that her health is failing.”

She added that unlike President Aquino, the Tiamzons personally oversaw relief and rehabilitation efforts for victims of typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas. Austria, Libertad said, was in the forefront of rehabilitation efforts specifically for women and children.

The marchers celebrate NPA's 45th founding anniversary. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

The marchers celebrate NPA’s 45th founding anniversary. Macky Macaspac

Illegal arrest?

In her letter obtained by Pinoy Weekly, Wilma Austria said that at the time of their arrest, they were carrying identification cards and safe conduct passes issued through the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).

Austria said the arresting officers did not give recognition to it and instead confiscated the documents.

Military and government officials insist that the arrest of the couple and their companions were within legal bounds and denied that the Tiamzons are protected from arrest under Jasig. Alex Padilla, chief negotiator for the Government of the Philippines (GPH), said that the Tiamzons have never been in any peace negotiation.

“We had not seen even their shadows,” Padilla said. He also added that NDFP consultants who were released by virtue of Jasig returned to the underground movement and continued fulfilling tasks to overthrow the government. He insisted that that Jasig is inoperational due to the stalled peace negotiations.

But the NDFP reiterated that the Jasig is still operational even when negotiations are stalled.

“Alex Padilla should not use the issue of (NDFP) consultants who returned in the underground after their release,” Austria said. She said it is imperative for NDFP consultants to be with their constituents. “This is to assure that we strictly follow their genuine interest in the process of peace talks,” Austria explained in her letter.

Even former government negotiating panel chairman Silvestre H. Bello III urged the government to honor the Jasig. In a Davao Today report, Bello said, “The JASIG took effect upon signing by the parties and will be in effect until it is terminated by either party through a written notice.” He added that the NDFP has two lists–one bearing real names and the other bearing assumed names or aliases.

So far, there has been no official termination of the peace negotiations between GPH and NDFP.

Revolutionary women under Makibaka. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

Revolutionary women under Makibaka. Macky Macaspac

Revolution continues

The CPP has dismissed as “hallucination” claims by the military and some personalities that the arrest of Austria and Tiamzon will “doom” the revolutionary movement.

It described as “self-delusional” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista’s calls for NPA members to surrender. The CPP said that Aquino has failed to address the root causes of the armed conflict. Majority of Filipinos, it said, still suffers from widespread unemployment, low wages, high prices, land grabbing and landlessness.

Widespread human rights abuses have also been committed by the AFP, especially in the countryside.

The CPP also said that it has a system of “orderly succession” in case its leaders fall in the hands of their enemy.

Prof. Jose Maria Sison, CPP founding chairman and currently NDFP’s chief political consultant, meanwhile, dismissed government officials’ claims that the Tiamzons are at odds with him regarding the peace process.

“The Tiamzon couple are in support of the peace negotiations. That’s why they are consultants in the peace negotiations. The claims of high officials and military officers of the reactionary government that the Tiamzon couple are at odds with the CPP founding chairman and the NDFP Negotiating Panel is a malicious intrigue,” Sison said.

Kuha ni <strong>Boy Bagwis</strong>

Photo by Boy Bagwis

 

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Larawan | Kasunduan para sa pagbase ng militar ng US sa PH, ipinrotesta ng progresibong mga grupo http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/larawan-kasunduan-para-sa-pagbase-ng-militar-ng-us-sa-ph-ipinrotesta-ng-progresibong-mga-grupo/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/larawan-kasunduan-para-sa-pagbase-ng-militar-ng-us-sa-ph-ipinrotesta-ng-progresibong-mga-grupo/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 17:24:23 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28667 Sinugod ng progresibong mga grupo sa ilalim ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) ang himpilan ng Department of National Defense sa Kampo Aguinaldo, Quezon City para iprotesta ang ika-pitong round ng mga negosasyon para sa "Enhanced Defense Cooperation" sa pagitan ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas at US. Para sa Bayan, lantarang paglabag sa soberanya ng Pilipinas ang naturang kasunduan.

Sinugod ng progresibong mga grupo sa ilalim ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) ang himpilan ng Department of National Defense sa Kampo Aguinaldo, Quezon City para iprotesta ang ika-pitong round ng mga negosasyon para sa “Enhanced Defense Cooperation” sa pagitan ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas at US. Para sa Bayan, lantarang paglabag sa soberanya ng Pilipinas ang naturang kasunduan. Nasa larawan si Roger Soluta (kaliwa) ng Kilusang Mayo Uno at Leon Dulce ng Kalikasan. Macky Macaspac

Hinamon ni Renato Reyes Jr., pangkalahatang kalihim ng Bayan, ang administrasyong Aquino na isapubliko ang nilalaman ng mga burador para sa kasunduan."Ilegal ang kasunduang ehekutibo na ito para sa de facto na pagbabase (ng militar ng US)," ani Reyes. Inaasahang malagdaan ang naturang kasunduan sa pagbisita ni US Pres. Barack Obama sa Pilipinas sa huling linggo ng Abril.

Hinamon nng Bayan ang administrasyong Aquino na isapubliko ang nilalaman ng mga burador para sa kasunduan.Ilegal umano ang kasunduang ehekutibo na ito para sa de facto na pagbabase ng militar ng US. Inaasahang malagdaan ang naturang kasunduan sa pagbisita ni US Pres. Barack Obama sa Pilipinas sa huling linggo ng Abril. Nasa larawan si dating Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino. Macky Macaspac

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Arrest of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria, violates immunity pact, says NDFP http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/arrest-of-benito-tiamzon-wilma-tiamzon-5-others-violation-of-agreement-on-immunity-guarantees-says-ndfp/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/arrest-of-benito-tiamzon-wilma-tiamzon-5-others-violation-of-agreement-on-immunity-guarantees-says-ndfp/#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 18:12:49 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28610 Photos of Wilma Austria and Benito Tiamzon released to media by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Photos of Wilma Austria and Benito Tiamzon released to media by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The chief peace negotiator of the revolutionary umbrella group National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) decried the arrest of alleged Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Chair Benito Tiamzon, his wife and alleged CPP Secretary-General Wilma Austria, and five others in Brgy. Zaragosa, Aluginsan, Cebu as a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).

Luis Jalandoni, head of the NDFP negotiating panel in the peace negotiations, said Tiamzon and Austria have been fulfilling “highly significant tasks in the peace negotiations” when they were arrested 3:15 PM on Saturday, March 22.

“The NDFP vigorously demands that Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria be immediately and unconditionally released,” stated Jalandoni. “This latest flagrant violation of the Jasig by the Aquino regime, in addition to so many other gross violations of the Jasig, most seriously prejudices the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.”

Confirming arrest

AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on Saturday evening confirmed the arrest of the Tiamzons and five others “by virtue of a warrant of arrest for their crimes against humanity that include murder, multiple murders, and frustrated murder.” They were arrested by combined teams from the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP), said Bautista.

Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin also confirmed the arrest, and said Tiamzon, Austria, and the others were then undergoing “tactical interrogation” at the headquarters of the Central Command (Centcom) of the AFP in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City.

But human rights defenders under Karapatan and the lawyers group National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) in Cebu that immediately dispatched a seven-man team to assist the arrested persons were stonewalled by soldiers at Camp Lapu-Lapu. They said that the soldiers also denied that Tiamzon, Austria and the five others were in their custody.

Dennis Abarrientos of Karapatan-Cebu said relatives of the arrested individuals contacted them to help in ascertaining the latter’s location.

Abarrientos said that in Camp Lapu-Lapu, a certain M/Sgt. Abuhan and someone in plain clothes who identified himself simply as an Army captain were the ones who denied custody of the arrested individuals.

When their lawyers asked for a written denial of custody, as per the Republic Act 10353, or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, the said soldiers refused to give any, Abarrientos said.

Under RA 10353, arrested persons “deprived of liberty ” also have “absolute right…to have immediate access to any form of communication available in order for him or her to inform his or her family, relative, friend, lawyer or any human rights organization on his or her whereabouts and condition.”

Sa ilalim ng batas, dapat ina-accomodate nila kami, papapasukin para makausap (ang mga naaresto). Ni hindi sa amin pinapakausap ang superior (officer) nila (Under the law, they should have accomodated us, allowed us inside the camp to speak to those arrested. They did not even allow us to speak with their superior officer),” Abarrientos said, in a telephone interview with Pinoy Weekly.

He said that aside from allegedly violating the Jasig, the AFP Centcom also violated the right of the arrested persons to counsel.

    Wilma Austria, when she was arrested by the military in 1989. She escaped from military custody in December 1989. File Photo

Wilma Austria, when she was arrested by the military in October 1989. She escaped from military custody in December of the same year. File Photo

P5.6-Million bounty

“The arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon is another victory for the combined efforts between the AFP, PNP and other stakeholders in pursuit of peace and security,” stated AFP’s Bautista, after the arrest.

But Jalandoni said that their arrest “most seriously prejudices the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations”.

“Wilma Austria is holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND978226 under her real name. She is holder of the Letter of Acknowledgment signed by then GRP Negotiating Panel Chairman Silvestre H. Bello III,” said Jalandoni.

Tiamzon, meanwhile, is a holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND 978227 under the assumed name “Crising Banaag”, and also holds a Letter of Acknowledgment from the government’s then chief negotiator Bello.

The NDFP, in November 2012, condemned the Aquino government’s announcement of placing bounties for the arrest of some 235 revolutionary leaders, including the Tiamzons who have been involved in the peace process.

“What are peace negotiations to the Aquino regime but a meaningless decorative piece when it demonizes and criminalizes the act of waging revolution and armed resistance against the oppressive and exploitative system?” the CPP said in Nov. 2012.

The Aquino administration, in Aug. 2012, announced that a P5.6-Million bounty existed for the capture of Benito Tiamzon, as well as other revolutionary leaders such as NDF-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos.

The bounty for the capture of NDFP leaders totaled P466.88-M, and was authorized under Joint Order No. 14-2012 of the Department of National Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government (DND-DILG).

“To list and target our consultants is an attack on the peace process. The NDFP wants to ensure that the JASIG is respected and not violated,” Jalandoni said in Nov. 2012.

Wilma Austria had previously been arrested in Oct. 1989. She escaped from a maximum security prison inside Camp Crame, Quezon City in Dec. of the same year.

The NDFP, which represents the revolutionary movement in the peace process, has been involved in talks with the Philippine government since the 1980s after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship. Among the landmark agreements between the two sides is Jasig, which guarantees safety and immunity from arrest and prosecution of all persons involved in the peace process.

The CPP, primarily through its armed wing the New People’s Army, has been waging an armed struggle to overthrow the existing Philippine political and economic system since its the late 1960s.

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Rising number of extra-judicial killings in 2014 alarms rights group http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/rising-number-of-extra-judicial-killings-in-2014-alarms-rights-group/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/rising-number-of-extra-judicial-killings-in-2014-alarms-rights-group/#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 01:55:07 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28593 Protesters placed symbolic “corpses” in front of the Justice Department office in Manila. Human rights groups condemned alleged military involvement and DOJ's apparent disinterest in solving in 11 cases of extra-judicial killings in 10 weeks.

Protesters placed symbolic “corpses” in front of the Justice Department office in Manila. Human rights groups condemned alleged military involvement and DOJ’s apparent disinterest in solving in 11 cases of extra-judicial killings in 10 weeks. Macky Macaspac

Eleven cases of extra-judicial killings in 10 weeks.

Human rights advocates, in a picket-protest in front of the Department of Justice (DOJ), called attention to this fact and urged the  Aquino government to find and punish the perpetrators of these killings and other human rights violations.

“If the Aquino government cannot control and stop its killing spree, BS Aquino, the commander in-chief of the armed forces, has no business staying in Malacañang,” said Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay.

The group said the latest victims of extra-judicial killings were Romeo Capalla who was shot on March 15 in Oton, Iloilo province; and father and sons, Licuben, Eddie and Freddie Ligiw in Baay-Licuan, Abra province.

The Ligiws’ went missing for a few days. Their bodies were found buried in a shallow grave on March 8.

Military officials denied responsibility in the two separate incidents. In media reports, the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Capiz denied the allegation of Karapatan, while the Army’s 41stInfantry Batallion in Abra accused Abra Human Rights Movement of “tampering’  evidence in the crime scene.

“The military is always in denial when it comes to extrajudicial killings,we know they are behind the killings,” said Clarizza Singson-Dagatan, regional coordinator of Karapatan-Iloilo. Dagatan stressed that Capalla was accused as a top rebel official, subjected to surveillance and was filed with a trump-up case and a clear pattern of extrajudicial killings.

Audrey Beltran, secretary general of Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), meanwhile, described the accusation of the military as “the height of impunity and disrespect .”

Beltran said that human rights workers in Abra followed the instructions to wait for the crime scene investigators of the Philippine National Police who exhumed the bodies of the Ligiw’s. She added that human rights workers and all members of Karapatan are trained in preservation of evidences.

“The accusation of the 41st IB is baseless, (and is) meant only to intimidate human rights workers in the area,” Beltran said. The CHRA demanded the military unit to pull-out of Abra and called for an independent and impartial investigation of the Ligiws’ case.

Karapatan said that the Aquino government appears to have no intention of rendering justice to victims of extrajudicial killings.

“Just two weeks ago, we were here at the DOJ to sound the alarm bell and protest the seven reported incidents of killings in the first six weeks of 2014. In a matter of two weeks, four more incidents of extra-judicial killings happened,” said Palabay.

Palabay added that it seems the government is “running after its quota” of killings. Since December 2013, the group has documented 169 victims of extra-judicial killings across the country.

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Luisita farmers urge DOJ to act on complaints http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/luisita-farmers-urge-doj-to-act-on-complaints/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2014/03/luisita-farmers-urge-doj-to-act-on-complaints/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 16:26:42 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=28597 Still searching for justice. Farm workers from Hacienda Luisita hold banners of farmers who were killed in the struggle for land reform in the sugar state. Tensions grips anew in the area after companies owned by Cojuangco-Aquino family started bulldozing farmlands since the last quarter of 2014. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

Still searching for justice. Farm workers from Hacienda Luisita hold banners of farmers who were killed in the struggle for land reform in the sugar state. Tensions grips anew in the area after companies owned by Cojuangco-Aquino family started bulldozing farmlands since the last quarter of 2014. Macky Macaspac

Hacienda Luisita farmers led by the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) trooped to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging Sec. Leila de Lima to act on their complaints of harassment by security forces of Tarlac Development Corporation (Tadeco) who were fencing and bulldozing their crops and farmlands.

The group also filed a new complaint, this time involving a minor who was arrested by Tadeco security personnel after he took videos of the bulldozing activities on February 8.

They also condemned the arrest of their chairperson Florida Sibayan and farmer Julius Loveland last Wednesday while trying to process their bail for charges of threat filed by a Cojuangco security guard. They were released yesterday after posting bail.

According to Ambala, the DOJ has not been not acting on their complaints. The group said they first filed complaints on January 16. In news report by Bulatlat.com, De Lima said she has yet to check the status of the case with Undersec. Baraan.

Ambala added that 12 farmer-families lost an estimated Php 2,111,000 crops ready for harvest this March, razed homes and destroyed personal belongings and farm implements. Farmers also reported theft of farm animals and harvest.

“The reported losses are for a single incident alone. Cojuangco-Aquino guards have been destroying farmers’ homes and livelihood in Barangay Balete since after Typhoon Santi hit Central Luzon in October,” said Christopher Garcia, spokesperson of Ambala.

The group added that aside from Tadeco, another Cojuangco-owned company, Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), commenced the clearing of hundreds of hectares in barangay Mapalacsiao, affecting 50 farmer families in Sitio Maligaya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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